Wanted for murder of two iconic events — The PGA Tour.
The victims: The Houston Open and WGC Firestone.
The motives: Money and Greed.
Maybe a poster like that should be put out.
The PGA Tour is set to announce its 2018-2019 schedule next week at its gi-normous pocket-stuffing fundraiser otherwise known at The Players up at its palatial headquarters in Ponte Vedre.
When that new schedule comes out, two very iconic events will disappear, probably forever.
We already know the WGC Firestone is gone. The hallowed Firestone Golf and Country Club in Akron has been a golf shrine since it hosted Big Three Golf back in the 60s, a made for television series featuring Arnold Palmer, Jack Nicklaus and Gary Player. Didn’t get any better than that back then.
Shell has long been involved in golf. Shell’s Wonderful World of Golf introduced many of us to he game with those old black-and-white, no color television days featuring legendary names in the history of the game — Hogan, Sarazen, Nelson — you get the picture.
Shell would become the sponsor of the Houston Open and the relationship lasted 26 years.
Then came Hurricane Harvey.
Shell ended its 26-year sponsorship — dating to 1992 and, at the time, the third oldest on the PGA Tour — following the 2017 tournament after announcing massive layoffs the previous year due to falling prices and demand for oil and gas. Serious conversations are said to have ensued with the Texas Medical Center and Chevron, but nothing came of them. Chevron, of course, has been buffeted by the same market forces that forced Shell out, and its Houston operations also were seriously impacted by Hurricane Harvey last year.
“So many companies and their people have only recently been getting back into their offices and their homes,” Steve Timms, the Houston Golf Association President and tournament director. “Lots of their employees are still rebuilding and that’s where they’re focused now.”
The Golf Club of Houston also bowed out as the venue. It had been a popular place for Phil Mickelson to prep for the Masters. The greens were prepared to mimic those of Augusta National. Mickelson showed up year after year as the tournament was the unenviable week before the season’s first major.
With no sponsor, no home and the schedule coming out at The Players, looks like Houston’s a goner.
Such is life with today’s PGA Tour — no pay, no play.
When you’re looking at a tax-sheltered behemoth like the PGA Tour ($2 billion in 2016 revenues) — it’s all about the money.