By Pete Pappas
GolfWRX Staff Writer
There’s a lot going on opening day at WGC-Accenture Match Play today, but nothing is as huge as what happened even before the first ball was teed up.
“We’re delighted with the opportunity to make this announcement,” said Tim Finchem, PGA Tour Commissioner, during a press conference in Marana, Ariz.
Finchem was referring to the partnership extension between the PGA Tour and package shipping giant FedEx, which will last through at least 2017 and be worth at least $175 million.
And for those of you counting, well, let’s just say that’s a whole heck of a lot of golf balls.
“It is a nice addition to the things that have been happening that lay out our future in a very positive way and allow us to build the Tour both domestically and internationally,” Finchem said. “We’ve seen it grow, it’s become a big part of what the PGA Tour is about and it’s had the effect of pulling our season together. We’re going to try to make some adjustments in the next couple years with the FedEx Cup in an even more impactful way.”
FedEx has been a PGA Tour partner since 1986, when it was the title sponsor of the FedEx St. Jude Classic in Memphis, Tenn.
But not many people besides Finchem himself could have foreseen the impactful way this partnership would grow since the FedExCup was first announced in November 2005.
The Playoffs for the FedExCup offer $35 million in total bonus money to golfers based on their finish in the season-long competition, including a $10 million prize to the FedEx Cup Champion (it could become as much as $12 million in the future).
Only three years ago there were whispers that the PGA Tour was in financial trouble. But Finchem would have none of that. And this past September secured new long-term television agreements with NBC and CBS.
And while today’s announcement doesn’t necessarily mean the PGA Tour is depression-proof, it does go a “Bubba” mile towards securing player payout levels and its own long-term organizational health and vitality.
The 2012 FedEx Cup playoffs will begin with The Barclays tournament at Bethpage State Park’s Black Course in New York. The following week it moves to the Deutsche Bank Championship in Boston. Then on to the third leg, the BMW Championship. And finally it culminates with the Tour Championship Sept. 20-23 at East Lake Golf Club in Atlanta, Ga.
Previous FedEx Cup Champions include: Tiger Woods (2007, 2009), Vijay Singh (2008), Jim Furyk (2010) and Bill Haas (2011).
FedEx Corporation is the second-largest package shipping company in the U.S.