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Sunday, April 11, 2021

Colonial tournament set for 2018 but future remains in limbo

The storied Colonial Invitational golf tournament will return in 2018 though its future beyond that remains in limbo.

“I think it’s pretty much a guarantee we’ll have it this year,” District 7 Councilman Dennis Shingleton said. “And I think that is fantastic.”

Shingleton is assistant chairman for the marshals at the annual tournament and has been working with the event for several years.

The PGA Tour said in a statement that it is working closely with the Colonial Country Club for not only this year but beyond.

The statement read: “As we look toward the 2018 event and beyond, we will continue to work alongside Colonial Country Club in an effort to ensure the event will be a part of the PGA Tour schedule for many years to come.”

The dilemma stems from title sponsor Dean & Deluca stating earlier that the company may not be able to meet its financial obligations for this year and the remainder of a six-year contract that is in its third year.

“I think the PGA has been far more supportive in recent weeks than in December when they told us to put up or shut up,” Shingleton said.

This year’s tournament is scheduled for May 24-27. With the loss of Dean & Deluca’s sponsorship funding, the tournament found itself in need of funding just to continue this year.

Fort Worth Mayor Betsy Price is part of a committee helping find such sponsors. Officials with the city said some of the sponsors for this year include BNSF, American Airlines, and XTO Energy.

“As the longest-running PGA Tour event still being played at its original site, The Colonial is a deeply rooted Fort Worth tradition. Since 1946, the tournament has established itself as a premier sporting event in our community,” Price said. “The Colonial provides a spotlight to showcase Fort Worth both nationally and internationally throughout the tournament.”

And though the tournament is still seeking a long-term sponsor, Shingleton is confident the event will continue even after this year. After all, it’s not the first time there’s been a gap. But while the club was able to come forward and provide prize money before, the purse is such in current times that Shingleton said doing so might be a challenge.

Last year’s purse was $6.9 million.

“Now, nobody has ponied up and said they’ll be the corporate sponsor for the next five or six years, but I have confidence,” he said. “The Colonial has been in this place before, and it has always worked out. This is a great tournament that is very attractive.

“Hopefully, next year they’ll pencil it in. I’m more hopeful we’ll have a continuation.”

The Colonial was first played in 1946 and is the longest-running PGA Tour event still being played at its original site. Hall of Fame golfer Ben Hogan, a Fort Worth native and club member, won the inaugural Colonial and is the tournament’s only five-time winner.

In its statement, the PGA Tour noted Colonial as a “showcase of the game’s best players” and “a leader in giving back to the community in Fort Worth.” The tournament is among the PGA Tour leaders in charitable giving, contributing more than $11.7 million in 2017 and over $100 million in its history. – Associated Press

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