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Volume 26 No. 112
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AmEx, Desert Classic Both Stand To Gain From New PGA Tour Deal

It was "always the hope" of PGA Tour officials in the Coachella Valley that a company would "see the desert weather in January and the tournament's three-day pro-am as a way to activate a sponsorship," which is exactly what AmEx has done, according to Larry Bohannan of the Palm Springs DESERT SUN. The tournament's pro-am "could be a centerpiece of American Express' sponsorship, at least from its own corporate view." While the tournament searched for a title sponsor after CareerBuilder left after just three years, Tournament Exec Dir Jeff Sanders had talked about "finding a well-known sponsor based on the West Coast that would understand the value of bringing its clients, customers and corporate executives to the desert in January." Having some of those people "playing in the three-day pro-am is a nice reward for the company." PGA Tour officials are "quietly pleased to have American Express back as a title sponsor" of a tournament. While local officials are "happy with the new sponsorship because American Express brings financial backing and prestige that surpass the last two title sponsors." American Express is a "much larger company" than Humana or CareerBuilder, which each "struggled at times with activation of the sponsorship" (Palm Springs DESERT SUN, 9/10).

WHAT'S IN A NAME? Bohannan in a separate piece noted the PGA Tour "would have allowed" the Desert Classic to be played in '20 "without a sponsor, but that probably would have been the end of the tour's million-dollar commitment to the event." The tournament "needed a sponsor, and instead they found a blue-chip mega-company to put its name on the tournament." AmEx will "do more with the tournament than just advertise during tournament week." Fans can "expect to see ads during other PGA Tour events and even other sporting events mentioning that American Express is the title sponsor in the desert" (Palm Springs DESERT SUN, 9/9).