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PGA, Innisbrook won't comment on potential sponsor

PGA Tour and Tampa Bay Championship officials made it clear Thursday they do not want to talk about reports that link Transitions Optical Inc. to a long-term sponsorship with the Palm Harbor tournament.

"I can't comment on that now,'' said Ty Votaw, PGA vice president of communications and international affairs. "When there is something to say, we'll say it.''

The tournament has been in need of a corporate sponsor since PODS, which signed on in 2007, exercised its option to back out two years into a six-year deal. Gerald Goodman, director of the Innisbrook event, has been courting sponsors since. He said he is still doing that.

"There's no deal,'' Goodman said. "I'm still out talking to sponsors and doing all I can.''

Transitions Optical, based in Pinellas Park, makes photochromic lenses and has offices worldwide. The company is not saying if it will put its name on the tournament, although it acknowledges being interested.

"We don't have an announcement at this time,'' Transitions spokeswoman Mary O'Hara said. "We are always talking to different groups about how to best market our brand. We were at the tournament in March, but we've got nothing to say at this point.''

It would take about $7-million per year to sponsor the Tampa Bay tournament. The event has been through several changes since it became a PGA event and lost longtime sponsor JCPenney. It started as the Tampa Bay Classic, was the Chrysler Classic, the Tampa Bay Championship and PODS Championship.

Votaw said the tour plans to release its 2009 schedule in the fall. One move that appears inevitable is the Texas Open from October to May to take the place of Atlanta's AT&T Classic, which loses its sponsor after this year.

If the Tampa Bay Championship fails to find a sponsor it could lose its place in the March 2009 Florida Swing. Goodman said he has not been told by PGA officials that the tournament would lose its March date.

PGA, Innisbrook won't comment on potential sponsor 05/01/08 [Last modified: Thursday, May 1, 2008 10:24pm]
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