PONTE VEDRA BEACH, Fla. and KAPALUA, Hawaii -- The PGA TOUR and Hawai'i Tourism Authority (HTA) announced a four-year extension of their Official Marketing Partnership that will continue to help promote the state's golf industry through 2014.
The partnership dates back to 2001 when the PGA TOUR and HTA, created by the state legislature to oversee Hawai'i's multi-billion tourism industry, aligned to highlight Hawai'i's professional golf tournaments as a marketing package that could serve as the promotional cornerstone for the state's $1 billion golf industry. Hawai'i today features more than 70 golf courses.
"We are delighted to continue our partnership with the Hawai'i Tourism Authority and to help highlight Hawai'i as a golfer's paradise through our season-opening events on the PGA TOUR and Champions Tour," said Tom Wade, the PGA TOUR's Chief Marketing Officer. "Opening the season in Hawai'i is a longstanding tradition and our members always enjoy starting each new year there."
The PGA TOUR and Champions Tour again open their respective 2011 seasons with two events in Hawai'i: the Hyundai Tournament of Champions, featuring PGA TOUR tournament winners from 2010, begins Thursday at Kapalua on Maui, followed by the Sony Open in Hawai'i in Honolulu on Oahu. The Champions Tour season begins Jan. 17-23 with the Mitsubishi Electric Championship at Hualalai on Hawai'i. The following week, the Kaanapali Champions Skins Game is held in Lahaina on Maui.
In November, Hyundai was introduced as the new title sponsor through 2013 at Kapalua, where the PGA TOUR season has opened since 1999. That tournament will have a new look and feel this week with a new title sponsor, the adaptation of its Tournament of Champions moniker, and a new host organization in the foundation established by broadcaster Mark Rolfing and wife Debi, which is focused on bringing new elements to the tournament and highlighting its unique stature of fielding only champions from the previous PGA TOUR season.
Sony, meanwhile, recently signed an extension of its sponsorship in Honolulu through 2014. Sony and the PGA TOUR also confirmed that portions of the tournament will be broadcast in 3D, making the Sony Open in Hawai'i the first co-sponsored PGA TOUR event to feature a 3D telecast.
"The Hawai'i Tourism Authority is very excited to announce the extension of our partnership with the PGA TOUR," said Mike McCartney, HTA President. "The TOUR brings the best golfers in the world to the best destination during a time of year when our key markets are covered in snow and Hawai'i can broadcast over 20 hours of warm weather and breathtaking natural resources. The energy of the season-opening event on Maui coupled with the 3D broadcast during the Oahu event provides viewers a very intriguing perspective of our beautiful destination."
The Hawai'i Tourism Authority is actively using PGA TOUR members to highlight the state and its many recreational activities through a cross-platform promotion. Six vignettes were used throughout 2010 and a new set of vignettes will be filmed during the opening tournaments in which players talk about their favorite activities when they visit the state. Each will begin with the common theme of: "Nothing is more exciting than ... "
The first PGA TOUR tournament held in Hawai'i was the 1965 Hawaiian Open at Waialae Country Club in Honolulu, which was won by Gay Brewer. The first Champions Tour event in the state was held in 1987 at the Royal Kaanapali Golf Club North Course, won by Orville Moody.