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Shriners, PGA Tour reach agreement on tournament extension

It might have taken a little longer than expected, but officials with the Shriners Hospitals for Children Open and the PGA Tour have reached a three-year agreement to keep the tournament in Las Vegas at least through 2020.

This year’s event is scheduled for Nov. 2-5 at TPC Summerlin.

“We’ve worked diligently over the last 12-15 months and now look forward to the future,” executive director Adam Sperling said. “We will be activating the entire Shriners organization in new ways throughout tournament week.

“I think fans will see and feel a different presence with several new pieces within the organization being engaged and highlighted, beginning this year.”

The Shriners have been the tournament’s organizer and a major sponsor since 2006. During previous negotiations, the Shriners and PGA Tour have come to terms on five-year deals but recent agreements between the PGA Tour and other sponsors have also resulted in similar deals lasting only through the 2020 season.

In March of 2016, Valspar agreed to a three-year extension as title sponsor of the Valspar Championship played each year at Innisbrook in Tampa Bay. Earlier this year in March, MasterCard signed a three-year sponsorship extension for the Arnold Palmer Invitational played at Bay Hill in Florida.

The Shriners Hospital for Children Open originally began as the Panasonic Las Vegas Pro Celebrity Classic and was played for the first time in 1983. The inaugural event featured the first million-dollar purse in PGA Tour history and in 1996 Tiger Woods won the event, which was his first professional victory.

The defending champion is Rod Pampling from Australia. When the 2020 event is played, it will mark the 38th consecutive year of PGA Tour golf in Las Vegas.

“First of all, to have 38 consecutive PGA Tour events in Las Vegas is something we should all be very proud of and the help that the community has given it through the years is appreciated,” tournament director Patrick Lindsey said. “It’s been a great relationship that the PGA Tour has had with Las Vegas.

“In my short three years here, we have seen considerable growth and the community has latched on to the tournament. I think this also cements Las Vegas as a major league city. This town is growing into one of the major sports town in the United States. Pretty soon we are going to have professional hockey and football and two NASCAR races. Professional golf is a part of that and will be here for another three years, and we hope even longer than that.”

In addition to the Shriners presence and the continued improvement of fan enhancements this fall, Lindsey believes the on the course action could rank among the best ever.

“I believe we are going to have one of the best fields we have ever had and look forward over the next 45 days to showcase some of the players who will be playing,” Lindsey said. “I think that we have the possibility to land a couple of the best players in the world that we could possibly see here in the first week of November.”

Freelance writer Brian Hurlburt is a two-time author who has covered golf in Las Vegas for more than two decades. He can be reached at bhurlburt5@gmail.com or @LVGolfInsider on Twitter.

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