Fort Worth’s venerable stop on the PGA tour is still slightly vulnerable.
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With title sponsor Dean & DeLuca informing the PGA of its intentions to back out of its six-year contract as the title sponsor of the tournament, Colonial Country Club leadership has scrambled to find a solution to ensure the event remains intact.
The result has been a community-wide effort to secure The Colonial in 2018 and beyond.
Why is it important?
The city does not want to see Colonial’s PGA date change. Mayor Betsy Price has been one of this project’s top advocates, because the event has been around for seven decades and generates millions each year.
The club hopes to get out of the business of needing a title sponsor. Both Price and the club want to assemble enough local private money to build a self-sustaining model to ensure its place on the PGA Tour calendar for years to come.
The Colonial, however, might have to change how it operates. Since the Colonial is an invitational and not owned or operated by the PGA Tour, it can run its charities how it wants. The PGA Tour would like to see Colonial adopt its format regarding charities and fundraising.
Colonial has secured assistance from several local companies in an effort to reach the necessary $11.5 million to hold the event in 2018. Thus far, American Airlines, XTO, BNSF have pledged to help. AT&T has also said it might help. The Club also plans to come up with at least a portion of the total sum.
And there is no definitive word from Dean & Deluca if it will completely back out on its agreement. The upscale grocery chain had initially indicated it wanted to remain on as a contributing sponsor in some capacity. Right now, the event is still called the Dean & DeLuca Invitational.
The title sponsor contract with D&D is binding, according to club officials. The problem is that there is no definitive language in the contract to prevent or deter this sort of reneging.
The PGA Tour has in the past month been active in trying to find a long-term solution for Colonial. The Tour has had meetings with companies about potentially using Colonial to sponsor a PGA Tour event.
Number to know
Don’t worry, there will be PGA Tour golf in Fort Worth in 2018. The Club and the PGA Tour have no plans to change Colonial’s date in 2018 — May 21 - 27. How they get there is the matter.
Note to readers: Mac Engel is a social member at Colonial.
Mac Engel: @macengelprof