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Repost: The PGA is Killing the GMO

I’ll be on the road for most of tomorrow for business, so blogging will be likely lacking.

In light of that and the news the Milwaukee PGA Committee is closing up shop, thus ending the 40-plus years of professional golf in Milwaukee every summer, I’m reposting from June my post about what I sadly saw was happening: The PGA was killing off the GMO.

Enjoy as we weep the lose of another great Wisconsin tradition gone.

There was a story a while ago in the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel about how the inability to get a sponsor for the professional golf tournament known as the “Greater Milwaukee Open” or “GMO,” could put the tournament in jeopardy of being no more. Worse the article said, was that since it was now “The U.S. Bank Championship in Milwaukee,” it feared that having received federal bailout money from the Trouble Relief Asset Program (TARP) would be a hindrance to continued sponsorship of the USGA event.

The PGA says without a sponsor, the tournament will likely have to end.

As if it weren’t hard enough to attract a title sponsor for a PGA Tour event in difficult economic times, Dan Croak and the board of directors of the U.S. Bank Championship in Milwaukee are facing another obstacle.

Croak, the tournament director, said some potential title sponsors were skittish because of public perception that sponsoring sports events – and particularly golf tournaments – was a waste of corporate money.

“I’m not going to name names, but it’s out there,” Croak said. “People don’t necessarily want to put their name on the event.”

U.S. Bank declined to exercise a three-year option beginning in 2010, so this is the sixth and final year of the bank’s title sponsorship of the Milwaukee event.

Before 2004, the tournament did not have a title sponsor and was known as the Greater Milwaukee Open.

But Croak said the tournament could not go on without a title sponsor and PGA Tour officials have said it is unlikely the Tour would underwrite the event, even for one year.

[…]

Earlier this year, U.S. Rep. Barney Frank (D-Mass.) and Sen. John Kerry (D-Mass.) were critical of title sponsorships of golf tournaments.

Frank, the powerful chairman of the House Financial Services Committee, lambasted Northern Trust about the entertainment the bank funded during the Tour stop in Los Angeles.

Northern Trust received $1.58 billion from TARP, the Troubled Assets Relief Program, which was designed to keep the banking system from collapsing.

After meeting with PGA Tour officials, Frank softened his criticism somewhat.

“No one is saying they shouldn’t sponsor golf tournaments and honor existing contracts,” he said. “It’s the spending on luxury hotels and limousines they shouldn’t be doing. Now, if they weren’t getting federal money, it would be up to them to decide if that’s the way they want to spend their money.”

Two weeks ago, the Quail Hollow Championship in Charlotte, N.C., was held without Wachovia’s name on the tournament. Wells Fargo & Co., which acquired Wachovia last year, pulled the Wachovia name off the event because of public backlash against marketing expenditures of financial firms.

I respect Gary D’Amato a lot. He’s one of golf’s most under-appreciated sportswriters. However, I’ve long felt that he was covering the press conference of the event, not the realities of what’s going on behind the scenes.

It’s becoming very clear, the schedule the PGA has given the GMO is going to kill the event. With its current location opposite the British Open, one of golf’s four majors, guarantees the tournament will become an afterthought in the world of golf.

Just three weeks ago, it was announced the 2008 Champion of the tournament will not be attending. Richard S. Johnson, a Swede, just qualified for the British Open and will not be defending his title.

The U.S. Bank Championship in Milwaukee will be without its defending champion in July.

Richard S. Johnson of Sweden has qualified to play in the British Open and will be at Turnberry in Scotland instead of at Brown Deer Park. The tournaments are held concurrently July 16-19.

“Obviously, being opposite the British Open we know this is a possibility every year,” said Dan Croak, the U.S. Bank tournament director. “We’ve got a European as our champion and he’s never played in the British Open. This is important to him.

“I haven’t talked to him yet but I’m sure he feels as bad as we feel that he’s not going to be here to defend his title. We wish him the best of luck.”

Johnson, 32, tied for third place in a 36-hole British Open qualifier Monday at Gleneagles Country Club in Plano, Texas. The top eight in the field of 78 advanced to the 138th Open Championship.

With the big allure of the British Open on the very same weekend, the GMO has become an after-thought of the golf world for the third weekend in July. To try to drum up interest for the tournament, this week it was announced four former Major Champions would be playing the event. The most recent champion on their list was Shaun Micheel in 2003.

(Yes, I have no idea who Shaun Micheel is either.)

Sadly, like all other sports, golf has become a game where personalities matter to those who want to attend [and sponsor] your events. In golf, that means Tiger, Phil Mickelson, Vijay Singh, and up and comers like Anthony Kim, Adam Scott, and others. If they’re across the pond playing the British Open, then they won’t come to Milwaukee. If they won’t be coming to Milwaukee, neither will the folks who want to show them on TV.

Unless the PGA moves the GMO or does something to better position the tournaments opposite the British Open since travel does effect the willingness of many players to play in the tournaments before and after the British as well, we might soon be saying “Goodbye” to the tournament where Tiger Woods said, “Hello World.”

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The PGA is Killing the GMO

There was a story a while ago in the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel mabout how the inability to get a sponsor for the professional golf tournament known as the “Greater Milwaukee Open” or “GMO,” could put the tournament in jeopardy of being no more.  Worse the article said, was that since it was now “The U.S. Bank Championship in Milwaukee,” it feared that having received federal bailout money from the Trouble Relief Asset Program (TARP) would be a hindrance to continued sponsorship of the USGA event.

The PGA says without a sponsor, the tournament will likely have to end.

As if it weren’t hard enough to attract a title sponsor for a PGA Tour event in difficult economic times, Dan Croak and the board of directors of the U.S. Bank Championship in Milwaukee are facing another obstacle.

Croak, the tournament director, said some potential title sponsors were skittish because of public perception that sponsoring sports events – and particularly golf tournaments – was a waste of corporate money.

“I’m not going to name names, but it’s out there,” Croak said. “People don’t necessarily want to put their name on the event.”

U.S. Bank declined to exercise a three-year option beginning in 2010, so this is the sixth and final year of the bank’s title sponsorship of the Milwaukee event.

Before 2004, the tournament did not have a title sponsor and was known as the Greater Milwaukee Open.

But Croak said the tournament could not go on without a title sponsor and PGA Tour officials have said it is unlikely the Tour would underwrite the event, even for one year.

[…]

Earlier this year, U.S. Rep. Barney Frank (D-Mass.) and Sen. John Kerry (D-Mass.) were critical of title sponsorships of golf tournaments.

Frank, the powerful chairman of the House Financial Services Committee, lambasted Northern Trust about the entertainment the bank funded during the Tour stop in Los Angeles.

Northern Trust received $1.58 billion from TARP, the Troubled Assets Relief Program, which was designed to keep the banking system from collapsing.

After meeting with PGA Tour officials, Frank softened his criticism somewhat.

“No one is saying they shouldn’t sponsor golf tournaments and honor existing contracts,” he said. “It’s the spending on luxury hotels and limousines they shouldn’t be doing. Now, if they weren’t getting federal money, it would be up to them to decide if that’s the way they want to spend their money.”

Two weeks ago, the Quail Hollow Championship in Charlotte, N.C., was held without Wachovia’s name on the tournament. Wells Fargo & Co., which acquired Wachovia last year, pulled the Wachovia name off the event because of public backlash against marketing expenditures of financial firms.

I respect Gary D’Amato a lot. He’s one of golf’s most under-appreciated sportswriters.  However, I’ve long felt that he was covering the press conference of the event, not the realities of what’s going on behind the scenes.

It’s becoming very clear, the schedule the PGA has given the GMO is going to kill the event.  With its current location opposite the British Open, one of golf’s four majors, guarantees the tournament will become an afterthought in the world of golf.

Just three weeks ago, it was announced the 2008 Champion of the tournament will not be attending.  Richard S. Johnson, a Swede, just qualified for the British Open and will not be defending his title.

The U.S. Bank Championship in Milwaukee will be without its defending champion in July.

Richard S. Johnson of Sweden has qualified to play in the British Open and will be at Turnberry in Scotland instead of at Brown Deer Park. The tournaments are held concurrently July 16-19.

“Obviously, being opposite the British Open we know this is a possibility every year,” said Dan Croak, the U.S. Bank tournament director. “We’ve got a European as our champion and he’s never played in the British Open. This is important to him.

“I haven’t talked to him yet but I’m sure he feels as bad as we feel that he’s not going to be here to defend his title. We wish him the best of luck.”

Johnson, 32, tied for third place in a 36-hole British Open qualifier Monday at Gleneagles Country Club in Plano, Texas. The top eight in the field of 78 advanced to the 138th Open Championship.

With the big allure of the British Open on the very same weekend, the GMO has become an after-thought of the golf world for the third weekend in July.  To try to drum up interest for the tournament, this week it was announced four former Major Champions would be playing the event.  The most recent champion on their list was Shaun Micheel in 2003.

(Yes, I have no idea who Shaun Micheel is either.)

Sadly, like all other sports, golf has become a game where personalities matter to those who want to attend [and sponsor] your events.  In golf, that means Tiger, Phil Mickelson, Vijay Singh, and up and comers like Anthony Kim, Adam Scott, and others.  If they’re across the pond playing the British Open, then they won’t come to Milwaukee.  If they won’t be coming to Milwaukee, neither will the folks who want to show them on TV.

Unless the PGA moves the GMO or does something to better position the tournaments opposite the British Open since travel does effect the willingness of many players to play in the tournaments before and after the British as well, we might soon be saying “Goodbye” to the tournament where Tiger Woods said, “Hello World.”

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