Farr tournament hiatus is about dollars and senseWritten by Chris Schmidbauer | | email@example.com
After dealing with perhaps the most tumultuous year in its existence, it was announced that the Jamie Farr Owens Corning Classic will be taking next year off.
The tournament, which has not missed a year since 1986, will return in 2012.
Reaction was split, and the general consensus on the course seemed to be that, while depressing, a year break might be necessary.
The tournament board, led by longtime director Judd Silverman, said with the 2011 U.S. Senior Open coming to Inverness next summer, it would be difficult for the greater Toledo area to be able to financially support two golf tournaments so close together.
Certainly, the money is an important factor when it comes to any event like the Farr. The tournament, which has long been a generous benefactor to multiple charities, made no qualms about the fact that the tournament had lost many sponsors.
Plus, the sponsors the tournament had retained were working with a tighter budget.
But while the financial aspects seem to be the main reason being given, the tournament’s hiatus makes common sense.
The tournament committee, known as Toledo Classic Incorporated, is also in charge of putting on the 2011 U.S. Senior Open at Inverness. Toledo Classic Inc. has known about next year’s Senior Open since the United States Golf Association (USGA) named Inverness the 2011 host site in 2007.
The Senior Open is considered a major on the PGA Champions Tour, and Silverman and crew have their work cut out to manage and market the event in association with the USGA.
The Open is slated to be played July 25-31 next year, which means that if a Farr event, which is typically hosted at the beginning of July, were to happen, the tournament committee would be responsible for two golf tournaments within a matter of weeks. That would be a difficult task to say the least.
The Senior Open also comes with a bigger audience, which will come to Toledo to watch the tournament. The event also comes with 14 hours of national television coverage on NBC and ESPN, and the tournament will feature world-renowned golfers like Tom Watson, Greg Norman, Fred Couples and Hale Irwin. That’s just naming a small fraction of possible participants in the field.
The estimated economic impact on the area is between $25 million to $30 million.
Unfortunately, those kinds of financial commitments and national exposure are not something the Jamie Farr can compete with.
With the LPGA still working to get back on solid footing, it seems like it is common sense to make sure that the U.S. Senior Open can make the biggest splash it possibly can.
It is important for Toledo Classic Inc. to make sure that its sole focus is the Senior Open. A successful event guarantees a possible return trip from the USGA, much in the same way a great 2003 Senior Open brought the tournament back for 2011.
While finances might make the decision an easier one, it seems anything less than Toledo Classic Inc. and the Glass City’s best effort would be a move that could have negative repercussions for many years to come.
Silverman and company have done a miraculous job keeping Inverness in the sight lines of the USGA, and the group has been able to attract large scale tournaments on a regular basis.
With a promise of a Farr reboot in 2012 and talk of a contract with the LPGA through 2014, it seems like the one-year break can serve the tournament in two ways. One would be a financially successful 2011 U.S. Senior Open that will generate dollars to pump into the Glass City.
The other result might be a renewed sense of vigor on the part of the LPGA and local sponsors. It might give both a chance to rebound financially, and it might give the tournament committee a chance to come up with new ideas to help the Farr rebound from a rough year.
In the end, the year long hiatus is about dollars, but it also makes sense.
Chris Schmidbauer is sports editor for Toledo Free Press and Toledo Free Press Star. Contact him at firstname.lastname@example.org. He also can be heard every Tuesday at 11 a.m. on the Odd Couple Sports Show on Fox Sports Radio 1230 WCWA.