Future Cloudy at Kapalua

January 13, 2009, 10:29 AM HST · Updated January 13, 1:49 PM
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Dark clouds lingered over the Plantation Course at Kapalua on the final day of the Mercedes-Benz Championship, with Australia’s Geoff Ogilvy winning top honors by a resounding six strokes.

The overcast skies were, in some ways, a reflection of the rising concern locally that the PGA Tour may take the event elsewhere when its contract with Kapalua expires following next year’s event, as does Mercedes-Benz’ sponsorship agreement.

PGA Tour commissioner Tim Finchem did nothing to dispel the worries when he spoke in veiled terms in response to questions regarding the future of the event and where it is played.

There have been persistent rumors making the rounds that the tour is seeking to move the tournament to another location.

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One hopeful scenario has the event staying on Maui but moving to one of the Wailea courses.  Others say a more likely move would be to the mainland — which almost certainly means somewhere in California or Florida.

And there’s also a concern about a potential domino effect that could take place if the Mercedes were to leave Maui, and what impact that would have on the future of the Sony Open, the first full-field tournament of the season held the week following the event at Kapalua?

The answer to that question has major ramifications to the golf industry throughout the state.

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