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
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
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
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
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.