4:12 PM   |   November 17, 2018
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Warwick Again Waits on Tiger's Call

This is a "Will he come?" on a much, much larger scale.

The Buick Open, Michigan's only annual PGA professional tour stop and a source of prestige for the entire Genesee area, is used to yearly suspense as it sweats out the decision by superstar Tiger Woods on whether he'll play or not.

Tiger's decision has not been announced for this year's event, which tees up July 27-Aug. 2 at Warwick Hills Golf and Country Club in Grand Blanc Township.

But an even greater source of anxiety is sprouting about the 2010 event: Will it even have Buick as a sponsor?

CBS Sports reported earlier this week that this year's tournament will be held as planned, but that the fate of next year's event is "hazy."

With parent company General Motors parked in bankruptcy, and all of its major decisions presumably in the hands of the U.S. government, that surely is an understatement.

The 10 million Buick spends on two golf tournaments per year - the other is in California - would appear to be a defensible marketing expense for a viable auto brand. But when such weighty elements as the fate of pension and health care obligations hang in doubt, perspectives change.

We'll understand if GM needs to step back from such promotional expenses as it endures a long and painful restructuring. Buick is mum on the tournament rumors, but the company already, and understandably, has cut back discretionary spending related to this summer's tournament. No pro am. No corporate entertainment.

All of this is no different, nor worse, than the other blows the Flint area has been dealt in its long, bittersweet marriage with the auto giant. The tournament is an unqualified success as a sporting event and as a community event, and its relationship with the PGA tour is sound.

This source of community pride will simply be another rallying point for other corporate citizens, community leaders and volunteers. Tournament Director Tom Wilson said he's already talking to the PGA Tour about going forward with new sponsors.

We're confident that a year from now, our professional golf tournament will be back where it always is this time of year: Working feverishly to finish the details on a first-class, professional golf tourney, and waiting for a phone call from Tiger.


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