Las Vegas, Nevada (November 5, 2010)–Sometimes it feels like all things start and end with Las Vegas. And when it comes to the PGA Tour's Tournament of Champions, an event that was first played in 1953 at the Las Vegas' Desert Inn Golf Club, it did all start here, and now the PGA Tour has announced the event is going back to the good old days by again including 'Tournament of Champions' in the name of the tournament. Starting in 2011, the former SBS Championship will be called the Hyundai Tournament of Champions and will kick off the PGA Tour in Hawaii. For a brief time, this tournament was also played at Las Vegas National Golf Club. —By Brian Hurlburt.
The PGA TOUR, Hyundai Motor America and Seoul Broadcasting System International (SBS) announced that Hyundai has become the title sponsor of the PGA TOUR’s season-opening tournament at The Plantation Course in Kapalua, Hawaii for the next three years. Formerly known as the SBS Championship, this season-opening limited-field event was originally introduced as the Tournament of Champions in 1953 at Desert Inn Country Club in Las Vegas and maintained the Tournament of Champions identity until its title change in 1994. The Tournament of Champions remained at Desert Inn Country Club until 1967, when it moved to Stardust Country Club, which is now called Las Vegas National Golf Club. The “T of C” then moved to La Costa Country Club in Carlsbad, CA in 1969, where it remained until moving to Kapalua in 1999. The old Desert Inn has since been remodeled and is now the site of the Wynn Golf and Country Club.
Some of the biggest names in golf won the Tournament of Champions while it was played in Las Vegas including Arnold Palmer, Gene Littler Jack Nicklaus. The event was won by Al Besselink in 1953, and Besselink recently was in Las Vegas as part of the festivities at the Palms Hotel when the original Tournament of Champions was inducted into the Las Vegas Golf Hall of Fame. Besselink now lives in Florida, but remembers winning in Las Vegas like it was yesterday. He regaled the audience at the induction ceremony with stories about his times in Las Vegas, when he won and then finished second the following year to Art Wall. Nicklaus and Littler sent video messages for the evening. Frank Beard and Don January won the event for the two years it was played at Las Vegas National, which is now the home to the Las Vegas Golf Hall of Fame.
Las Vegas National Golf Club is managed by Harrah's Entertainment, and is one of the most conveniently located golf courses to the Las Vegas Strip. Las Vegas National features traditional and oasis style holes, and is in some of the best shape that it has been in many years. Over the summer, Las Vegas National Golf Club was the host course for qualifying for the United States Senior Open, and the top players in that field raved about the course. Las Vegas National is a resort Las Vegas golf course where rates for visitors to Las Vegas are always $100. Click now to view the official website and the Las Vegas golf rates available for LVN. You can directly connect with Las Vegas National and secure the best rates and deals for golf in Las Vegas at Las Vegas National.
“We are delighted to welcome Hyundai to the PGA TOUR family,” said PGA TOUR Commissioner Tim Finchem in a statement. “In our discussions, Hyundai expressed interest in continuing its brand momentum throughout the U.S., as well as further strengthening its position in Asia. This title sponsorship will help accomplish these goals.” Two-time defending champion Geoff Ogilvy of Australia will look to three-peat at the 2011 Hyundai Tournament of Champions on Monday, January 3 through Sunday, January 9, 2011, with four full-day coverage on the Golf Channel.
As part of this agreement and commencing with the 2011 tournament, the event is being renamed the Hyundai Tournament of Champions, reintroducing the tournament’s original moniker that highlights the exclusive field of PGA TOUR tournament winners from the prior season. This title sponsorship continues Hyundai’s “Big Voices in Big Places” strategy, positioning the Hyundai brand in the highest profile advertising venues including the NFL’s Super Bowl, an exclusive automotive sponsorship of the Academy Awards and a global sponsorship of the 2010 FIFA World Cup™. “Hyundai’s title sponsorship of the PGA TOUR’s traditional season-opening tournament aligns our brand with world-class athletes who mirror our own competitive drive,” said John Krafcik, president and CEO, Hyundai Motor America. “This sponsorship ensures that every champion at the tournament will arrive in luxury, and the fans that follow the sport will be exposed to an all-new interpretation of intelligent luxury, the Hyundai Equus.”