Multiple sources have told GolfChannel.com that the PGA Tour’s longest running title sponsor is leaving after next year’s Honda Classic.
Honda Motors has been the title sponsor of the South Florida stop since 1982, but as Golfweek.com first reported, the company will back off after next year’s event, a by-product of the PGA Tour’s compressed schedule and shifting corporate priorities.
The event, set to take place in February at the PGA National, has become a staple early-season event for international players starting their Masters preparations, but has struggled to attract a strong field in an increasingly busy calendar in recent years.
This year’s event, for example, was wedged between the Tiger Woods-hosted Genesis Invitational and held at the venerable Riviera Country Club, and the Arnold Palmer Invitational and The Players Championship, the tour’s invitational and flagship event.
While a rescheduling of the Tour starting next year, which will shrink the Honda field even more, would not help in an already difficult situation, according to various sources, the withdrawal of title sponsorship had already begun before this season.
The event struggled to find its place in Florida and bounced through various courses before making it to the PGA National in 2007. That same year, Barbara Nicklaus became chair of the event, with the Nicklaus Children’s Health Fund as the main charitable beneficiary. event, making it a must-have for many of the top players living in south Florida.
However, that attraction has faded in recent years, and this year’s event ranked fourth out of four Florida swing events in field strength, according to the world rankings.