Akron Blues: Losing WGC For Champions Tour Like Going From Major Leagues To Double A

Bob Dyer of the Akron Beacon-Journal reacts to news of the PGA Tour leaving Firestone for Memphis, and providing a Senior Players as the consolation, writing that it's "equivalent of going from Major League Baseball to AA."


Dyer notes the rumors of FedEx demanding WGC status for the Memphis stop and player affinity for Firestone as reasons to be dismayed, but ultimately can't get past the loss of big names coming to Akron.

Area golf fans no longer will be able to rub shoulders with household names like Tiger Woods, Phil Mickelson and Rory McIlroy. No more Dustin Johnson. No Rickie Fowler. No Justin Spieth.

In this week’s rankings, the top three players on the Senior Tour are Bernhard Langer, Steve Stricker and Scott McCarron — prominent former PGA Tour players, to be sure, but hardly living legends.

Dyer says it all came down to the cost of World Golf Championship sponsorship and has pretty good sources on that.

Gordon Knapp, CEO of Bridgestone Americas, said Thursday that his company would have been permitted to keep the WGC event in Akron had it anted up enough money. But clearly Bridgestone’s sponsorship budget is lower than FedEx’s.

“We looked at where the PGA was going with their … pricing, and frankly, we had to take a step back and take a look at our own portfolio of sports sponsorship packages,” he said.

He declined to disclose any numbers. 

It's not typical to see a CEO call out the price increase like that, so was Bridgestone made an offer they had to refuse, or is the WGC pricing really on the upswing for all sponsors?