Utah Championship News
Park City Tourney Dropped
Thursday, 21 November 2002 21:27Thursday, November 21, 2002
By Kurt KKragthorpe
The Salt Lake Tribune
The newly named Champions Tour will no longer include one of senior professional golfs oldest tournaments.
Park City's event staged in its 21st year as the Uniting Fore Care Classic in August, was dropped from the 2003 calendar because of sponsorship issues, tournament director Bryan Naugle said Wednesday .
The move, which came after meetings of the PGA Tour's policy board in Florida this week, leaves the Nationwide Tour's , Utah Classic in Sandy as the only PGA Tour-brand event in Utah.
The Park City event's demise will not become final until the 2003 schedule is released in early December. Jeff Adams, the tour's director of public relations, said officials are "trying to put the finishing touches on everything" and could not address the event's status until the schedule is published.
The Allianz Champipnship in Iowa, 3, third-year tournament, has been tentatively assigned the event's former dates in August, the week after the PGA Championship. The Champions Tour figured to have a reduced schedule in 2003 because of natural attrition, while avoiding conflicts with major championships and ensuring that the tour's stars will play a higher percentage of tournaments.
And now, those players will no longer be coming to Park City --one of their favorite stops, according to a Sports Illustrated survey.
Dave Stockton, a two-time winner and advocate of the event, described the August tournament as the best ever in Park City; "I hate to think it was the last one," he said.
Bruce Summerhays of Farmington, a player director of the Champions Tour policy board, was particularly saddened by the loss. "I'm going to miss playing in Utah," said Summerhays, who twice came close to winning the event in front of his fan base. "It wrings my heart that I haven't won there."
Summerhays said Gov. Mike Leavitt and other government officials tried to bring multiple companies together in a sponsorship effort, but nothing materialized.
Title sponsorships are expensive -- roughly $1.5 million an nually for the Champions Tour -- and Utah apparently lacks the corporate base for such marketing investments.
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