Golf Notes: Status Quo Expected For Honda Classic As IMG Assumes Ownership
In West Palm Beach, Brian Biggane profiles PGA Tour Honda Classic Exec Dir Ken Kennerly and writes that he has "simply outworked his rivals." Kennerly took over the role in '06 and gave the tournament "a permanent home at PGA National." When IMG "went looking for a tournament to align itself with in recent years," it was not "an accident it settled on the Honda." IMG took over the event in April with its acquisition of IGP Sports & Entertainment Group. IMG Golf Global co-Managing Dir Guy Kinnings said, "In the last seven or eight years, the Honda has improved on so many levels. We have a huge respect for the people that run that operation, and when we looked at it, we said, 'That's the one, it's perfect for us.'" Kinnings "promises little will change about the tournament going forward" as Kennerly assumes the new title of IMG North America Senior VP. Kennerly said that he has "been told the same, that the message has been 'Don't mess with the Honda'" (PALM BEACH POST, 7/12).
SENIOR MOMENTUM: In Omaha, Steve Jordon reports the U.S. Senior Open "ended up with 62 companies" spending $5.6M in sponsorship of the event, "a corporate support record for the senior golf circuit." Jordon: "From those millions in corporate sponsorships to the $9.76 million worth of new Lexuses cruising around Omaha and from the $2 million in spectator ticket sales so far to the high school kids making $9 an hour plus tips for selling lemonade, the Senior Open's success is measured not only by breaking par but also by banking pennies" (OMAHA WORLD-HERALD, 7/12).
IN IT FOR THE LONG RUN: In Toledo, Evan Brune writes LPGA Marathon Classic officials are "quick to debunk a rumor" that the event "will move to Cincinnati" in '15. Tournament Exec Dir Judd Silverman said, "Most ridiculous statement I've ever heard. We (Toledo Classic Inc.) have a multiyear contract with Marathon." LPGA Chief Communications Officer Kraig Kann said, "As for Cincinnati, we would love to find our way into that market as it is a fantastic sports community with great golf fans, but nothing is imminent at this time" (TOLEDO FREE PRESS, 7/12).