North Texas

Colonial ‘Confident' 2018 Tournament Is on Course Despite Lack of Title Sponsor

Fort Worth is at risk of losing its biggest global showcase, the annual PGA golf tournament at the Colonial Country Club.

The club and the city have until Dec. 1 to find a new sponsor after the previous backer, Dean & DeLuca, broke its six-year contract and dropped out.

The prospect of losing the tournament is troubling on many levels.

"It would be sad for the economy, it would be sad for this country club and it would be sad for golf," golfer Debbie Jansen said.

It's a 71-year tradition still held on the original course, and there's a lot of pride in that.

"I grew up in Fort Worth. I've been coming to this tournament since I was a little kid. I remember standing on number 9 when I was pregnant with my son, who's 35," Jansen said.

Still, tournament directors feel confident they'll have new sponsorships in place by the PGA's deadline.

The most likely scenario is a patchwork of companies, including American Airlines, banding together to sponsor the 2018 tournament.

"We're confident that we're going to get there and be able to have an event here in 2018 and beyond," said club president Rob Doby.

But no one has agreed to the $11 million title sponsorship, so there's no long-term security.

Mayor Betsy Price has been working behind the scenes and says The Colonial is part of the fabric of Fort Worth that has to be saved.

"It's just an amazing asset, and it's a worldwide exposure for us," Price said. "I mean, you couldn't pay to promote Fort Worth's name like you get during the week of The Colonial, and people love it."

The Colonial doesn't have the biggest course. The holes are grouped closely together.

"And it's kind of symbolic of what Fort Worth is, a very tight-knit community that rallies to support its friends," Doby said.

The Colonial needs that support now more than ever to keep its iconic PGA tournament going.

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