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Work continues to bring Korn Ferry Tour back to Las Vegas

The Korn Ferry Tour announced its 2022 tournament schedule this month, and a Las Vegas stop is not on the list. But that’s not necessarily set in stone.

The MGM Resorts Championship at Paiute, held in April at Paiute Golf Resort, was always billed as a one-time event added to the schedule when early-season international tournaments were canceled because of the coronavirus pandemic.

Brooks Downing, who runs BD Global Sports, the firm that ran the Korn Ferry event at Paiute, says discussions are continuing to bring the tournament back to Las Vegas.

“We are actively pursuing a permanent Korn Ferry event in the Las Vegas market,” Downing said. “I’m optimistic it will happen.”

The issue for Downing and the Korn Ferry Tour is landing a title sponsor for the tournament. Downing said discussions are ongoing with MGM Resorts about returning, as well as with other companies who have shown interest.

If an agreement were to be reached, Downing has no doubt an additional event can be added to the already published schedule.

“It would be hard for them to turn down a fully funded event,” Downing said.

MGM has already committed to the LPGA Match Play event at Shadow Creek for three years. The PGA Tour has both the Shriners Children’s Open and CJ Cup in town next month. Downing says there is plenty of room for Korn Ferry and more.

“Las Vegas could hold as many of these as it wanted,” Downing said. “It really has become a golf town.”

If Downing is able to find a sponsor, he hopes to return to Paiute Golf Resort, which held the event on its Sun Mountain course while allowing the public to continue to play on the Wolf and Snow Mountain tracks at the same time.

“Players love going to Las Vegas, and Paiute is probably one of the top five courses they got to play all season long,” Downing said.

Paiute would welcome the event back, as well. General manager Jeff Reid said the tournament was beneficial for everyone involved, although he would prefer a different date on the calendar than late April.

“It was a good event for us,” Reid said. “We saw an uptick in golf as a result and saw a lot more business come through for Sun Mountain.”

The Korn Ferry Tour is the PGA Tour’s development circuit. The 2022 schedule features 26 events with a minimum purse of $750,000 per event — up from $600,000 in past years. The top 25 players on the season-long points list earn a promotion to the PGA Tour the following year.

Ugly Americans

The Ryder Cup is always a boisterous event with rowdy fans, but last week’s edition in Wisconsin took on a different feel. With travel restrictions keeping Europeans away, the crowd was 99 percent American, leaving no counter-balance to their over-the-line atmosphere.

The cheering of European mistakes, the taunting of players and the lack of decorum didn’t go unnoticed.

Phillip Reid of the Irish Times acknowledged Team USA was superior in every aspect, but the Ryder Cup was harmed by the “boorish comments emanating from boozed-up fans directed at European players.”

“Hearing some of the comments coming out of the Ryder Cup crowd makes me appreciate how courteous crowds at Solheim were,” German star Sophia Popov, who played earlier this month on the European Solheim Cup team, noted on Twitter.

The irony is the behavior came only three weeks after PGA Tour Commissioner Jay Monahan said golf can’t become like other sports, and fans need to be held to a higher standard.

To that end, he said spectators will be ejected from future events if they even call Bryson DeChambeau “Brooksie,” a dig at his feud with Brooks Koepka.

Greg Robertson covers golf for the Review-Journal. He can be reached at grobertson@reviewjournal.com .

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