PONTE VEDRA BEACH, Fla. -- Sanderson Farms, which tested the sponsorship waters on the PGA TOUR this year with its homestate tournament, has expanded its commitment through a three-year renewal with the Sanderson Farms Championship.
In addition to the extension, PGA TOUR and tournament officials announced that the Sanderson Farms Championship, held at Annandale Golf Club in Madison, Mississippi, is moving from July to late October and the front end of the 2014-2015 official schedule, the same week as the World Golf Championships-HSBC Champions in China. By doing so, it will not be contested during the 2013-2014 season. The tournament has been held the same week as The Open Championship the last three years.
Officials also said the purse is increasing by $1 million to $4 million for the 2014 event.
“We are very pleased to announce this extension with Sanderson Farms as well as the date change, which should benefit the strength and growth of the Sanderson Farms Championship,” said Andy Pazder, PGA TOUR Chief of Operations. “We are excited about Sanderson Farms’ commitment to upgrade the event and make an even bigger impact to charity.
“In regard to moving to the front of the schedule, we anticipate a number of players will use this as an opportunity to get out of the gates fast and strengthen their early standing in the FedExCup,” he added. “The overall tournament experience also should be enhanced by less volatile weather and more moderate temperatures. Plus, the players undoubtedly will enjoy playing the Champion Bermuda greens that time of the year.”
Joe Sanderson, Sanderson Farms’ Chief Executive Officer and Chairman of the Board, spoke of the importance of the tournament’s economic and charitable impact in Mississippi, and an increased focus on elevating that presence over the next three years.
“Since it was first held in 1968, this tournament has been very important to our state and the metro Jackson area in terms of the exposure, economic impact and charitable giving it has provided,” Sanderson said. “When we agreed to sponsor the 2013 Sanderson Farms Championship, we felt it aligned with our company’s goals and mission to support our local communities and charities. We had a very positive experience this year and saw the potential to magnify the impact the tournament has, which is why we have extended our sponsorship.”
The sponsorship extension will solidify and increase the Sanderson Farms Championship’s support of Friends of Children’s Hospital, which became its primary beneficiary in 2008. Friends is a nonprofit organization benefiting Blair E. Batson Hospital for Children at the University of Mississippi Medical Center.
Sanderson Farms, one of the nation’s leading food corporations, also plans to increase its activation around the tournament, building upon its activity this year that carried a distinct theme related to its business through hospitality, entertainment, signage, and even tee markers.
“We had a wonderful experience working with Sanderson Farms to create a distinctive atmosphere this year and had fun incorporating its core business into the tournament thematic,” said John Lang, President of Century Club Charities, the tournament’s host organization. “Sanderson Farms has been a wonderful corporate citizen over the years and shares a great vision for what our tournament can do for the area and entire state of Mississippi through its involvement. We are very excited to work with the Sanderson Farms team to expand upon our unique identity and the impact we have for Blair E. Batson Hospital for Children.”
In regard to the Sanderson Farms Championship’s economic importance to the state, a study commissioned by the Mississippi Development Authority and conducted by Mississippi State University determined that in 2010 the tournament had a $22 million impact.
Golf Channel will continue to televise all four rounds of the tournament. PGA TOUR veteran Woody Austin is the defending champion.