Fort Worth -- For more than 70, since 1946, golf and spring have found a perfect match at Colonial Country Club.
"All of those tournaments right here at Colonial Country Club right here in Fort Worth, TX," said Colonial Club President Rob Doby. "It's a legacy we're very proud of and obviously one we want to see continue for years to come."
Maintaining that legacy has become much more difficult, with a developing situation Doby admits, "did catch us a little off guard."
Doby sent this letter to Colonial members informing them that title sponsor Dean and Deluca, "may be unable to meet its financial obligations for the tournament sponsorship in 2018."
When asked if the tournament next spring is in jeopardy, Doby said, "I don't think that jeopardy is the word we would use. I don't think we're to that point where we would say it's in jeopardy. It's certainly a serious situation. We're doing everything we can do to ensure that there's an event in the city of fort worth in 2018."
Corporate angels are the target, and there are conversations already underway. The tournament's annual $40million dollar economic impact and some $12 million in charitable dollars generated each year could be on the line.
"It would have a tremendous impact," Doby said if the tournament would not go on.
The PGA Tour is also re-shaping schedule in 2019 with the PGA Championship moving to May. There are concerns the tour may not have as many events, so finding a solid corporate partner is important for the long-term viability for the tourney, as well.
Fort Worth City Councilman Dennis Shingleton among those concerned about Colonial's future.
"I think there are tournaments across the nation that are going to be looked at by the PGA, as do we really need tournament this?" Shingleton said, adding, "you can't help but be fearful," that the Dean & Deluca is on that list.
Colonial owns the distinction of being the longest running tournament at one site continuously on the PGA Tour. It is the most time-tested venue in professional golf, but remaining so will not be easy.
"It's difficult," said Doby of Colonial's predicament, "the thought that we would get to may of 2018 and there wouldn't be this event, it's really, really hard."
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