Maui News


May 7, 2009, 12:00 PM HST
* Updated May 7, 2:14 PM
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The season-opening event for the PGA TOUR has a new title sponsor.  Seoul Broadcasting System (SBS) replaces Mercedes-Benz as the title sponsor, with the new 10-year agreement set to run through 2019.

The agreement with Mercedes was set to run through 2010 at The Plantation Course in Kapalua.  While the current site agreement is through 2010, PGA TOUR Commissioner Tim Finchem said the intent is to continue playing the newly renamed SBS Championship at Kapalua.

The tournament dates back to 1953, when it was known as the Tournament of Champions and was staged in Las Vegas, NV.  It moved to Carlsbad, CA in 1969 and remained there until its move to The Plantation Course at the Kapalua in 1999.

Besides taking over title sponsorship, the Korean Company also opted to extend exclusive broadcasting rights through 2019.  The agreement reflects a 7-year extension over the existing contract.  SBS has been a broadcast partner of the TOUR for more than 15 years.

Keeping with the season opening tradition, the SBS Championship event will be limited to winners from the previous PGA TOUR season.


“We are delighted to announce this significant sponsorship agreement and broadcasting extension with SBS, the premier television network in Korea and a longtime broadcasting partner of the PGA TOUR,” Finchem said during a press conference at TPC Sawgrass, site of this week’s PLAYERS Championship.


“Our expanded partnership with SBS lends long-term stability to what now becomes the SBS Championship, which traditionally signals the start to the PGA TOUR season and the FedExCup competition. We look forward to working with SBS on its sponsorship of this important event. I would also like to take this opportunity to thank Mercedes-Benz for its support of the tournament over the past 16 years.”

“We are very pleased to become the title sponsor of the PGA TOUR’s season-opening tournament, as well as to extend our broadcasting agreement through 2019,” said Sang Chun, President of SBS International, a division of Seoul Broadcasting System.   “The tournament gives us a great opportunity to expand our visibility and involvement with the world’s premier golf tour over the next 10 years.”

“The fact that SBS has made a commitment for the next 10 years not only gives us tremendous continuity, but also the opportunity to institute new ideas to help continue to build and grow the tournament,” said tournament chairman Gary Planos.   “Mercedes was a great sponsor but now we look forward to our future with SBS,” said Planos.


Since moving to Maui, the tournament host organization, Kapalua Maui Charities, has donated more than $3 million to local charities.

“We have had a wonderful relationship with the PGA TOUR and Kapalua Maui Charities,” said Stephen Cannon, Vice President, Marketing of Mercedes-Benz USA. “We look forward to continuing to work with the PGA TOUR on future marketing programs.”

Geoff Ogilvy of Australia captured this year’s title in dominating fashion, finishing 24-under par on The Plantation Course for a six-stroke victory over Davis Love III and Anthony Kim.

(Posted by Wendy OSHER © 2009; Images courtesy The Golf Channel)

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