Dean & DeLuca May End Title Sponsorship Of PGA Tour Stop At Colonial Country Club
Dean & DeLuca is "on the verge of pulling out early" as title sponsor of the PGA Tour's annual event at Colonial Country Club in Ft. Worth, according to a front-page piece by Mac Engel of the FT. WORTH STAR-TELEGRAM. Dean & DeLuca is two years into a six-year deal, and Colonial President Rob Doby in a letter to members said that D&D notified the PGA Tour and Colonial that it "may be unable to meet its financial obligations for tournament sponsorship" in '18. Colonial's board is "scheduled to meet" with D&D reps about potentially "renegotiating the terms of the contract, but at this point the club is preparing to look elsewhere for a title sponsor." Losing D&D "would not be a devastating hit to the tournament, but it’s hardly a welcomed development." Securing a sponsor is a "major pain and the price of re-branding is costly." The Tour lined up D&D for Colonial, which is "normal for PGA events." A source said that there is "no language in the contract that includes a financial penalty" for a sponsor ending its relationship early. The PGA Tour "wants a little more" than $11M per year from a sponsor for this event. Sources said that that "effectively eliminates several companies from landing Colonial." The price tag is roughly $3M "too rich for many companies." D&D agreed to the sponsorship "with the stipulation that its name would be the title of the tournament" and the longtime "Colonial" moniker would be removed. The move "disappointed and angered some Colonial members who wanted to keep the tradition of the event around the club’s name" (FT. WORTH STAR-TELEGRAM, 10/20).
SEARCHING FOR ANSWERS: GOLFCHANNEL.com's Will Gray noted D&D's departure "would leave the PGA Tour with three as-yet-unsponsored events" for '18. Shell after last year's event "ended its sponsorship of the Houston Open," while the Tiger Woods-hosted DC-area event is "without both a sponsor and venue for next year after the exit of Quicken Loans" (GOLFCHANNEL.com, 10/19).