SBJ/June 4 - 10, 2001/No Topic Name

Software firm SAS spending $2M a year to name Senior PGA stop

Once-shy SAS Institute has stepped up as the high-profile backer of a Senior PGA Tour event coming to the Raleigh area.

The software giant pledged an estimated $2 million a year for at least three years to put its name on the event, which has been dubbed the SAS Championship. The tournament at Prestonwood Country Club in Cary, N.C., will be broadcast live on the Pax television network in the early rounds, with final play airing on CNBC.

SAS snapped up the spot on the Senior PGA Tour, which was lost by Atlanta after the title sponsor there,, pulled out because of financial troubles.

Landing the event also is a coup for Raleigh. Atlanta officials scrambled to find a deep-pocketed backer to replace the lost sponsor and keep the event, which it had hosted for 10 years. Tour officials gave tournament officials a deadline to find a new sponsor, but no deal materialized.

After its three-year run at Prestonwood, the event is expected to shift to TPC at Wakefield Plantation — a $22 million, PGA-affiliated course in north Raleigh built for major tournaments. TPC Wakefield will host the Monday Qualifying Tournament for this year's SAS Championship and other tournament-related functions in the future.

The event will be held Sept. 17-23.

Kim Nilsen writes for The Business Journal in Raleigh.

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