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PGA Grand Slam ‘unlikely’ to remain in Bermuda

The PGA Grand Slam of Golf is up for sale.

Tourism minister Wayne Furbert revealed yesterday that the Professional Golfers Association of America (PGA) plan to sell the title sponsor for the annual event.

And, if successful in their endeavour, he said “it would be unlikely the sponsor would like to stay in Bermuda”.

However, the PGA have agreed to keep the Grand Slam of Golf on Bermuda’s shores at least until 2013 should they fail to find a new title sponsor by the time this year’s event rolls around.

“This commitment would stand even if they did find a sponsor after October,” Furbert added.

The current sponsorship fee for Bermuda to host the event stands at $1.5 million.

The PGA will announce whether or not they have found a new title sponsor at October’s PGA Grand Slam of Golf that will again be staged at Port Royal.

It is understood that Hawaii and Barbados have shown interest in taking over sponsorship of the three-day event.

Even though Bermuda has yet to lose its grip on the premier tournament involving the four Major winners on the PGA Tour, Furbert revealed that Government is already exploring various alternatives that could potentially bring “increased benefits to the Island”.

He said a proposed partnership with the Executive Women’s Golf Association (WEGA) would see Bermuda host either a Women’s Grand Slam of Golf or a World Championship of Women’s Golf in place of the Grand Slam of Golf.

Furbert said the possibility of a five-day long Champions Tour event being held in Bermuda is also being considered.

“The event brings 85 pros who would play a two-day pro-am prior to a 54-hole 3 day event for a prize purse of $1.8 million,” the minister said. “This event has the potential to bring 600 to 1000 visitors for the week.”

Furbert attended last week’s PGA Merchandise Show in Orlando, Florida keen to raise awareness of Bermuda’s “wonderful golf product and offerings” and specifically drive business to the Island’s shores.

During his visit he had the opportunity to meet with executives of GolfNow.com and their group NBC and the Golf Channel.

GolfNow.com leverages and pushes tee times via the Golf Channel as inventory and other digital assets. The company booked as many as six million rounds of golf last year and Furbert is keen to have them expand their services to Bermuda.

“The proposition is to come to Bermuda to link the top courses to the GolfNow platform,” he said. “There would be no cash outlay as clubs would simply commit on a barter basis.

“I have agreed to work with the courses to get them to sign up and get the program operation in a very short period of time.”

The minister also helped the Department of Tourism team pitch several exciting new promotional initiatives directed specifically at golf pros and golfing enthusiasts at last week’s PGA Merchandise Show in Florida.

He said the Department of Tourism is inviting visitors to Bermuda to enjoy two free rounds of golf plus a $100 spa credit when booking a minimum of four nights at participating properties with the new ‘Tee for Free’ package. This promotion, he added, is available for booking now through February 17, 2012, with travel dates through April 30, 2012.

Furbert said as many as 15 hotels, eight spas and five golf courses have combined to participate in this “new and innovative promotion”.

He added that the Department of Tourism’s ‘Fly, Stay and Play for Free’ promotion, which targets “all golf professionals”, also attracted much attention in Florida.

“Any golf professional who influences and brings seven players to Bermuda with him or her between now and May 6, 2012 will have their round trip air far (fare) paid plus accommodations,” Furbert said.

“These promotions are designed to drive some excitement for our product and generate stimulation in our key markets.”

Black and blue: A cutting image of Charl Schwartzel as he sinks a putt on the 16th green in last years Grand Slam

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Published February 04, 2012 at 1:00 am (Updated February 04, 2012 at 6:23 am)

PGA Grand Slam ‘unlikely’ to remain in Bermuda

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