Make us your home page

Get the quickest, smartest news, analysis and photos from the Bucs game emailed to you shortly after the final whistle.

(View our Privacy Policy)

Innisbrook owner: I won't lose PGA tourney

SIGN HERE: The Bucs’ Ronde Barber, far left, prepares to sign an autograph for Foy Mills of Tampa while playing in the Tampa Bay Championship pro-am.


SIGN HERE: The Bucs’ Ronde Barber, far left, prepares to sign an autograph for Foy Mills of Tampa while playing in the Tampa Bay Championship pro-am.

PALM HARBOR — A PGA Tour tournament will be held on the Copperhead Course in 2014, if Innisbrook Resort owner Sheila Johnson has anything to do with it.

There has been a PGA Tour event in Palm Harbor since 2000, but this year's tournament doesn't have a title sponsor; EverBank in Jacksonville came on at the last moment to be a presenting sponsor. No title sponsor has been secured for 2014, either. If one isn't signed by the end of this year, it could mean the end of the tournament.

"I'm like a dog on a bone, I am not going to let the Tampa Bay community down," Johnson said. "I am going to make sure this tournament stays around.

"We're very aggressively trying to find a sponsor. The PGA really loves this tournament. (PGA commissioner) Tim Finchem and everybody has been telling us we need to keep it here.

"I never look at things pessimistically. This is my baby. I'm not going to lose it."

Change of plans: Nineteen-year-old Jordan Spieth, the youngest player in the Tampa Bay Championship field, has no status on either the PGA or tours. He relies on sponsor's exemptions to enter tournaments, in the hope he will play well enough to eventually earn a temporary membership.

He tied for second in the PGA Tour's Puerto Rico Open on Sunday to earn a spot in the Tampa Bay Championship. Otherwise, he would have needed a sponsor's exemption to play.

"I played this course in an (American Junior Golf Foundation) all-star championship back when I was 14 or 15 years old, and it was a monster for me back then," Spieth said.

"On some of these holes, I'm able to hit irons instead of driver or 3-wood into the par 4s. The course is pure."

Spieth played in his first PGA event in 2010, as a 16-year-old at the Byron Nelson Classic. He tied for 16th. He spent last year playing for the University of Texas but decided to turn pro in December.

Spieth's future is uncertain.

"I still have a lot of work to do to have a permanent place to play," he said.

Iron man: Former University of Florida golfer Brian Gay is making his 12th straight start at Innisbrook, most of any player in the field. K.J. Choi and Tim Herron, also here this week, have played in 11 tournaments.

Wednesday Pro-Am: The teams of Vijay Singh (Doug Graska, Michael Lewers, Darrell Green), John Daly (Ed Droste, Bobby Jacobsen, Nick Reader) and Kevin Stadler (Robert Floyd, Ryan Williams, Gary Link) shot 12-under 59 to tie for the championship.

Innisbrook owner: I won't lose PGA tourney 03/13/13 [Last modified: Wednesday, March 13, 2013 10:39pm]
Photo reprints | Article reprints

© 2017 Tampa Bay Times


Join the discussion: Click to view comments, add yours

  1. Blake Snell steps up, but Rays lose to Orioles anyway (w/video)

    The Heater

    ST. PETERSBURG — Blake Snell stepped up when he had to Monday and delivered an impressive career-high seven-plus innings for the Rays. That it wasn't enough in what ended up a 5-0 loss to the Orioles that was their season-high fifth straight is symptomatic of the mess they are in right now.

    Tim Beckham stands hands on hips after being doubled off first.
  2. Rays vs. Orioles, 7:10 p.m. Tuesday, Tropicana Field

    The Heater

    Tonight: vs. Orioles

    7:10, Tropicana Field

    TV/radio: Fox Sports Sun; 620-AM, 680-AM (Spanish)

  3. Rays journal: Sergio Romo excited for fresh start in AL

    The Heater

    ST. PETERSBURG — RHP Sergio Romo was about to play catch with LHP Adam Kolarek before Monday's batting practice when he paused.

    RAMOS EXITS: Rays catcher Wilson Ramos clutches his head after being beaned by Ruben Tejada’s broken bat in the fifth inning. Ramos leaves the game and receives six staples to close a laceration on his head.
  4. Marc Topkin's takeaways from Monday's Rays-Orioles game

    The Heater

    LHP Blake Snell stepped up when the Rays needed him to — and perhaps when he had to to keep his job — working a season-high seven plus innings. And it wasn't only that he got deep into the game, but how he did so, using his fastball to pound the strike zone.

  5. Urban Meyer says the Big Ten is now the equal of the SEC


    CHICAGO — Ohio State coach Urban Meyer doesn't just believe the Big Ten has closed the gap with the more heralded SEC. He is convinced the race is a dead heat already.

    Ohio State’s Urban Meyer says the Big Ten East is as strong as the SEC East was when he coached UF to two national titles.