For the Sports Illustrated Golf Group it is a homecoming and an opportunity to broaden its appeal to amateur golfers.
For Myrtle Beach Golf Holiday and the World Amateur Handicap Championship it is an opportunity to partner with one of golf and sports leading brands.
For World Amateur players a new title sponsor provides the knowledge that the game’s leading media company is dedicated to improving golf’s largest single-site tournament.
Myrtle Beach Golf Holiday officials announced Wednesday at Pine Lakes Country Club that the Sports Illustrated Golf Group, which includes Golf Magazine, Golf.com and Sports Illustrated’s Golf Plus, is the new title sponsor of the World Amateur Handicap Championship.
The two-year deal, which includes a mutual option for a third, takes effect immediately and the tournament will be called the Golf.com World Amateur Handicap Championship. The press conference was a homecoming for SI Golf Group officials, who returned en masse to Pine Lakes for the first time since the magazine’s founding at the course in 1954.
While events throughout golf and sports are struggling to find title sponsors, the SI Golf Group’s commitment to the World Am speaks to the strength of the tournament’s brand and the loyalty of its players. The World Am began as a small event in 1984 and has grown into a one-of-a-kind tournament, annually attracting more than 3,000 golfers from all 50 states and 25 foreign countries.
“We are extremely excited to welcome the Sports Illustrated Golf Group to the World Am family,” tournament director Dave Macpherson said. “The SI Golf Group will allow us to tell the story of the event to a larger audience with more frequency than we’ve had the opportunity to do so in the past.
“It speaks to the event’s size and the respect it has earned within the golf community that an international company that is universally recognized throughout the game has chosen to join us, even during difficult economic times.”
“We are excited about working with our friends at Myrtle Beach Golf Holiday to take the GOLF.COM WORLD AMATEUR HANDICAP CHAMPIONSHIP to unprecedented heights,” said Dick Raskopf, SPORTS ILLUSTRATED GOLF GROUP Publisher. “This tournament is one of golf’s crown jewels, and the opportunity to bring SPORTS ILLUSTRATED back to Myrtle Beach where it all began is exciting.”
Heading into its 27th year, the Golf.com World Am, a 72-hole stroke play event that is played on more than 50 Myrtle Beach area golf courses, won’t see any changes to the tournament format, but the experience for players at the World’s Largest 19th Hole could be enhanced considerably.
The SI Golf Group is closely aligned with the game’s leading brands and stars, which could give the tournament an opportunity to attract prominent personalities and instructors to speak at the Golf.com World Am. The SI Golf Group has close working relationships with game’s top equipment manufacturers as well, opening up the possibility for a more interactive experience at the 19th Hole.
“We are looking at adding a lot exciting elements (to the 19th Hole), including having our editors participate, and collecting your input about the game,” Raskopf said. “The demo alley is going to be phenomenal this year. We are looking forward to making sure (players) all have a good time.
While SI Golf Group and Golf.com are new to the tournament as a title sponsor, World Am players are very familiar with the franchise. In annual post-event surveys, one of the most popular components of the 19th Hole has long been World Am Live, home of the event’s live entertainment and sponsored by Golf Magazine.
“World Am Live has always been one of the most highly rated 19th Hole activities and it has been Golf Magazine’s investment, their leadership, their activity,” Macpherson said. “They know the event, and we hope what they can do for the entire tournament is what they’ve done for World Am Live.”
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