The 54-year relationship between the PGA Tour and an iconic stop has come to an end. The World Golf Championship will be moving one of their four championships from Trump National Doral in Miami, Florida to Mexico City, Mexico effective in 2017.
The famed Doral golf course, home of the iconic “Blue Monster” 18th hole had been home to a PGA Tour event since 1962. In 2007, the course became home to a World Golf Championship tournament which is one of the more prestigious tournaments outside of the four majors.
The WGC and PGA Tour extended their contract with Trump National Doral in 2013 to host the prestigious World Golf Championship event but the WGC held an opt-out clause that allowed them to move the tournament to a new location if a title new title sponsor so desired. Cadillac chose to not renew their sponsorship of the event which opened the door for the Mexico-based Salinas Group to sponsor the event. The Salinas Group operates in many different industries such as television, banking and natural resources among several others.
The sponsorship and subsequent move of the WGC Tournament should prove to be an effective strategy for the game of golf as it attempts to grow the sport in Latin American countries. Interest in golf in the United States has been declining the last several years due to the popularity of other sports and the inherent expense of playing it. Additionally, three of the four WGC events were previously held in the United States. The move may well allow more Latin American countries to be exposed to the game which can help the game grow throughout the world.
All in all, growing the game internationally can help the PGA Tour create higher value for their sponsorships which only brings in more money for host cities and supported charities; including organizations that get kids more involved in the game of golf such as The First Tee.