PGA Tour Commissioner Jay Monahan said Tuesday that the tour is working to keep an annual event in the Washington area, but that without a sponsor for the tournament that is staged by and benefits the Tiger Woods Foundation, the tour must maintain “flexibility” before committing to the nation’s capital in 2018 and beyond.
Speaking at the Tour Championship in Atlanta, Monahan and the tour released the entire 2017-18 schedule. The Washington event — which has been known as the AT&T National and the Quicken Loans National — is listed for its regular week, June 25-July 1. But the golf course and location are “to be announced,” the only one of 49 events with such significant questions.
At a news conference, Monahan reiterated what Mark Steinberg, Woods’s longtime agent, and Rick Singer, the president of Woods’s eponymous foundation, said Monday: that the event’s organizers are in discussions with Quicken Loans and other potential sponsors to keep the tournament in Washington.
“We’re in a position where we’ve got to put forward the schedule and that’s why we’ve put the National on the brand,” Monahan said. “We need to conclude those discussions with Quicken, but you also need to maintain your flexibility, because whether or not Quicken steps up, we need to have all of our options in the event that a sponsor is looking . . . in a different direction or we’re going to take the tournament in a different direction.”
The tour exercised its right to terminate a contract it had with Congressional Country Club to host the event in both 2018 and 2020, and Congressional officials communicated that decision to members on Monday. Congressional charges among the highest site fees on the PGA Tour, and an event without a sponsor simply can’t afford to be staged at such a venue.
The PGA Tour owns TPC Potomac at Avenel Farm, the course across the street from Congressional that staged the most recent version of the Quicken Loans National, and if a title sponsor is found, the event could return there next year.
Though Quicken Loans has been rumored to prefer a tournament in Detroit, where it has its headquarters, Monahan said the tour is concentrating on keeping an event in Washington.
“We’re focused on D.C.,” Monahan told a group of reporters, including Doug Ferguson of the Associated Press, following his news conference. “We’re hopeful we’re going to find a solution. There’s a lot of markets that want to have a PGA Tour event . . .
“It’s a matter of trying to be in a market that’s been very good to us. And if we get to a place where we can’t accomplish that, then you’ve got to look at what those alternatives are and what fits best. But we’re not there yet.”
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