As a sponsor of the Honda Classic, the Japanese automaker is the longest-serving title sponsor of the PGA Tour. But after the 2023 edition, this is no longer the case.
Golfweek confirmed the long simmering rumors: Honda is the title sponsor when its deal expires after the last edition of Honda Classic at the end of February 2023.
Founded in 1972 under the name of Jackie Gleasonit is Classic Inverterthe tournament went through several sponsors until the arrival of Honda in 1982.
As part of the annual Florida Swing, the Honda was once seen as an attractive stop on the tour, with recent champions including superstars such as Adam Scott (2016), Ricky Fowler (2017) and Justin Thomas (2018). But since 2019, with the decision to compress the calendar and moving the Players Championship to March, it’s been tough sledding for the Honda.
The 2021 (five) and 2022 (twelve) editions of the Honda averaged fewer than nine top-50 players despite multiple top-10 stars who live in northern Palm Beach County.
By golf week:
With the changes to the schedule starting in January, the Honda will have two high events ahead of it – the WM Phoenix Open and the Genesis Invitational – and two after – Arnold Palmer Invitational and the Players Championship. This creates a difficult recruiting process – the top players are hired in the high events where the purses will be $20 million compared to the $8 million for the Honda Classic.
It’s ironic that the event’s lower prize money is part of its demise, as the initial winner’s share of $52,000 in 1972 made it one of the richest stages on the Tour, more so than any of the four majors, and more than double that of the Masters, which has a top prize of $25,000.
Money quote from an anonymous tour pro: “It’s a shame we’re losing a loyal sponsor like that, especially one who is stepping down because of the decisions we’ve made, not because their company is in trouble or doesn’t see the value in it, but because we’re sandwiching them between these high events. They’re like, ‘You wronged us and now we’re gone.’ They’re probably really crazy. I would be.”
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