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No Sponsor For PGA Golf Tournament At Torrey Pines

Audio

Aired 1/13/10

The annual P-G-A golf tournament at Torrey Pines gets underway later this month, but it's going without a title sponsor. Joining us on Morning Edition is Tom Wilson, executive director of the Century Club of San Diego.

The annual PGA golf tournament at Torrey Pines gets underway later this month, but it's going without a title sponsor and apparently no Tiger Woods for the second year in a row. Joining us on Morning Edition is Tom Wilson, he's the executive director of the Century Club of here in San Diego. Well, it appears the tournament will now be called the San Diego Open, Tom, why weren't you able to find a sponsor?

TOM WILSON: Well, we certainly--it wasn't for lack of trying, because our good partners from the PGA tour had been diligently trying to find a sponsor for the last, oh, five, six months and the main obstacle we had was that in order for a title sponsor to put up the kind of dollars they're looking to put up, they'd really want to have the best return on investment and it just got to be a time where they really couldn't pull it off in the time frame we were giving them.

BROWN: At this time last year I recall you being a little more optimistic about Buick coming through, but that didn't work out.

WILSON: Well, unfortunately when General Motors ended up going through the bankruptcy process part of what happened through that process was that they were not able to continue with our sponsorship, which certainly disappointmented them, and disappointed us, because we were great partners for 18 straight years. So that was certainly something that we wanted to continue, and they wanted to continue, but unfortunately because of the bankruptcy and what transpired there we were not able to do that. We've already ceased our talks for 2010 with any potential sponsor and now we're focusing on 2011 beyond.

PAMELA DAVIS: What is the cost to put on the tournament and how are you going to pay for it this year?

WILSON: Well, we've been very fortunate, we've got a lot of support from our community, the same kind of support we've had for many, many years. The people either participating in our Pro-Ams or buying at our hospitality venues, or just buying tickets to the tournament, or buying ads in our spectator guide, or our pairings guide. And we have a lot of different opportunities for people to become involved with our tournament.

BROWN: Well, last year Tiger Woods' knee injury kept him out of the tournament. Is that going to be the case this year? Not the injury, but just the fact that he may not be there--and if so, what effect does that have on ticket sales?

WILSON: Well, certainly Tiger does have an effect on ticket sales no matter where he plays, or where he doesn't play. It certainly -- he is the number one player in the world, he's got a charisma and excitement about him, and we've been very fortunate that we had him for 11 straight years before he got injured and wasn't able to play last year, and we know that according to what he has said he's on an indefinite leave and we don't know what that means.

DAVIS: Well, you still have an exciting tournament planned. Who will be playing? Phil Mickelson, our San Diego native, correct?

WILSON: Yes, in fact we have a great local San Diego team headed by Phil Mickelson, but then we also have Charley Hoffman. We've got Bill Lundy, John Mellinger -- we've got Pat Perez, Chris Riley, Kevin Stadler. So we got a pretty good home team there that kids that either live here in San Diego, or grew up here in San Diego. Torrey Pines is in tremendous condition, and it's going to be almost the same kind of condition as it was for the US Open here in 2008. So we're looking forward to it.

DAVIS: The first round of the San Diego Open gets underway Thursday, January 28, 2010.

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