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Volume 24 No. 158

Events and Attractions

The PGA Tour Wells Fargo Championship in Charlotte is “locked in through 2014, after which the contracts are scheduled to expire,” according to Ron Green Jr. of the CHARLOTTE OBSERVER. Green wondered, “What will happen to Charlotte’s annual tour stop? Will it end after the 2014 event? Will it move temporarily to another venue? … Or will a long-term extension be reached that will allow the Wells Fargo Championship to continue at Quail Hollow until at least 2019?” Tournament BOD member and Wells Fargo Exec VP/Community Banking Kendall Alley said, “I can honestly tell you there is no decision at this point.” Still, there is a “growing sense of optimism that an extension could be reached, perhaps by this summer.” Alley said that Quail Hollow has “shown an interest in discussing an extension.” Wells Fargo this year has “increased its participation, including the creation of a new hospitality pavilion behind the 17th tee.” Wells Fargo CMO Jamie Moldafsky will be at Quail Hollow this week to “see the event first-hand.” Alley said that should the bank decide to extend its sponsorship, it “won’t sacrifice the quality of what it now has.” Alley: “The first reality is, as a company, Wells Fargo is going to need to make a decision on what our future is. If that were to ... be at Quail, that’s great. It has some challenges in front of it. It’s not simple. We’ll make whatever decision is best for Wells Fargo” (CHARLOTTE OBSERVER, 4/28). In Charlotte, Adam O’Daniel notes Wells Fargo is “expecting up to 3,000 clients for the tournament this week” (CHARLOTTE BUSINESS JOURNAL, 4/27 issue). 

TO BE OR NOT TO BE? In Charlotte, Erik Spanberg notes Quail Hollow as part of its deal to host the PGA Championship in '17 “agreed to a stipulation by the PGA of America that it would not stage a regular PGA Tour event in either 2016 or 2017.” A few scenarios are possible, including “re-signing with Wells Fargo on a long-term basis, with Quail Hollow hosting in 2015 and another course in Charlotte serving as home of the tournament the next two years before returning to its original home.” Tournament Exec Dir Kym Hougham said that “four area courses have been suggested as potential alternate sites.” Another possibility could be “extending the Wells Fargo sponsorship by one year through 2015 and ending the regular tour stop after that, allowing Quail Hollow to focus on hosting the PGA Championship and other major golf events on an occasional basis in the years ahead.” In addition, the PGA Tour event could be temporarily relocated, similar to how the AT&T National event relocated from Congressional in DC for two years (CHARLOTTE BUSINESS JOURNAL, 4/27 issue).

Univ. of Texas System Chancellor Francisco Cigarroa announced Friday that he “will allow a high-profile boxing match to be held on the school's El Paso campus if law enforcement can ensure a safe environment, reversing a 3-day-old ban that had upset city leaders,” according to Llorca & Vertuno of the AP. Cigarroa had canceled the June 16 Julio Cesar Chavez Jr.-Andy Lee fight at the Sun Bowl, citing a "higher than normal" security risk. A law enforcement official on Friday said that a “federal risk assessment had warned that leaders of warring Mexican drug cartels would attend.” UT-El Paso President Diana Natalicio said that Cigarroa “told her one reason he cancelled the fight was a tie between Chavez Jr. and Sinaloa drug cartel boss Joaquin ‘Chapo’ Guzman mentioned in a federal security report.” Local media have reported Chavez Jr. is “in a relationship” with the widow of Guzman's son. Cigarroa set “several conditions for the fight to go forward: State, local and federal law enforcement must promise they can handle any security measures, the contract with the promoter and the security plan must be approved by system officials in advance, and no alcohol can be served.” Top Rank Chair Bob Arum, who is promoting the fight, said that he was “surprised by the restrictions,” but that he will “have to get assurances” from UTEP and local police by early this week that the restrictions can be met. If not, Arum said that he will “move the fight to Houston.” Texas state Sen. Jose Rodriguez on Friday dismissed the cartel report as "incredulous." He said that the cartel leaders “weren't likely to show up at a high-security, highly publicized event with a strong police presence” (AP, 4/27). In El Paso, Bill Knight wrote, “Our city officials, our politicians got the decision reversed. They all stepped up. They fought. Bob Arum deserves credit, too.” El Pasoans “must find a way to win this final round, to get alcohol sales approved in the Sun Bowl” (EL PASO TIMES, 4/29).