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Volume 24 No. 117
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     MasterCard International confirmed yesterday they will be
title sponsor of the Colonial Invitiational PGA Tour thorugh the
'98 event.  As title sponsor of next year's event, MasterCard
"will pay about half of the prize money ($1.4 million) and
bankroll half of the 32 30-second spots run on the CBS
broadcast."  The package is estimated to be worth up to $3M,
although details were not released.  In return, MasterCard will
get its name in all mentions of the tournament, a skybox
hospitality room next to the 18th green, and "an unspecified
number of spots in the pro-am tournament."  PGA Tour Commissioner
Tim Finchem said the search took almost two years.  Finchem: "Ten
years ago, a corporation's decision to sponsor a tournament would
be made in about a week.  Today, the process is much more
laborious.  Corporations want to examine every detail before they
sign up" (Dan Piller, FT. WORTH STAR-TELEGRAM, 5/25).
     THE ROOT OF ALL EVIL?  With the signing of MasterCard, the
Colonial becomes "another traditional title ... obscured for the
stake of the corporate dollar," according to Steve Hershey in
this morning's USA TODAY.  The PGA Tour "is gaining corporate
dollars but losing its history."  PGA Tour Exec VP/Tournament
Affairs Steve Rankin says that although the Tour has lost four
sponsors in the last two years (Northern Telcom, Nestle, H-E-B,
and Hardee's), they are "about where we normally are."  Rankin:
"There always is going to be some volatility with a couple of
situations."  But on the "brighter side," both the Motorola
Western Open and The Memorial by Dean Witter have increased their
purse to make their events more attractive.  But now that $1.2-
$1.5M purses "are commonplace, sponsor investments are leveling
off -- and getting harder to find."  Hershey notes that the New
England Classic hasn't had a sponsor since '90, and the Bay Hill
Club in Orlando is yet to replace Nestle, even with Arnold Palmer
as a host (USA TODAY, 5/25).