WASHINGTON -- The PGA Tour's decision to move the Booz Allen
Classic to the fall is costing the tournament its title sponsor.
Booz Allen Hamilton chairman Ralph Shrader said Monday that his
company will not renew its sponsorship contract when it expires
after this year's tournament.
"As we look to the move to the fall, we feel we would be
constrained to have the world-class event that we sought," Shrader
told The Associated Press.
Shrader hoped to work with the tour to give the tournament a
much-needed boost when Booz Allen Hamilton became the title sponsor
in 2004. The event has struggled over the years to attract a
marquee field, largely because of its unpredictable place on the
tour's June calendar and because of criticism of the tournament's
TPC at Avenel course in Potomac, Md.
Shrader felt he had reached an agreement with PGA Tour
commissioner Tim Finchem on a plan to overhaul the Avenel course
and clubhouse and give the tournament a more steady spot on the
calendar, preferably before the U.S. Open. The event was moved to
the prestigious Congressional Country Club last year to give the
tour time to renovate Avenel.
Instead, no work was done, and the tour announced in January
that the event would be moved to the fall in 2007, essentially a
demotion for the tour's only regular visit to the Washington area.
"I was surprised by the decision because it had not been part
of our discussions before," Shrader said, "and I was disappointed
This year's Booz Allen Classic will be held June 22-25. The
dates for its fall debut in 2007 have not been announced.
Shrader said that Booz Allen Hamilton will sponsor the
tournament on a more limited basis in 2007, spending at least $1
million, but the tour will have to look elsewhere to find a company
willing to spend the money to put its name in the title.
"We would have liked the circumstances to be different,"
PGA Tour spokesman Bob Combs said the tour was not surprised by
Shrader's announcement and that the tournament was moved to the
fall after the tour was unable to provide the type of consistent
dates in June preferred by Booz Allen Hamilton. Combs said there
are still plans to renovate Avenel, but construction cannot begin
until all the necessary permits are obtained.
"We do believe we will be able to secure title sponsorship for
the event when it moves to the fall," Combs said.