The upcoming PGA Tour's season opening tournament will have Hyundai Motor Co. as its title sponsor under the three-year deal that the carmaker has signed recently. The tournament, which will be held the first week of January 2011 at the Plantation Course in Kapalua, Hawaii, will be known as the Hyundai Tournament of Champions, according to the joint statement from Hyundai and the PGA.
The tournament was previously known as the SBS Championship, after a 10-year sponsorship deal was inked last year by the PGA and Seoul Broadcasting System International.
However, SBS will continue to be a tournament sponsor. With this sponsorship, Hyundai is thrust into the same level as other automotive brands such as Mercedes-Benz, Lexus, Buick and Infiniti that have previously sponsored PGA tournaments.
This also marks Hyundai's latest effort to utilize professional sports as way to boost marketing. Hyundai has been seen quite a lot lately. It was the global sponsor of the 2010 FIFA World Cup in South Africa. And in the Super Bowl last February, its ads also ran.
Hyundai Motor America President and CEO John Krafcik revealed that the brand's title sponsorship of the traditional season-opening tournament of the PGA TOUR allows it to mirror the competitive drive it has with the world-class athletes participating.
The sponsorship ensured that the tournament champion will arrive in real luxury, Krafcik shared. It will also serve to showcase to the fans of the sport its interpretation of what intelligent luxury is with the Hyundai Equus, added Krafcik.
The season-opening limited-field event was originally called the SBS Championship and first introduced during the 1953 Tournament of Champions held at the Las Vegas Desert Inn Country Club. This went on until the event changed the title by 1994.
In addition, the Tournament of Champions was held at that location until 1967 after which it then moved to the Stardust Country Club. By 1969 it moved again to the La Costa Country Club in Carlsbad, California, before finally going to Kapalua by 1999.
PGA TOUR Commissioner Tim Finchem shared that the organization is happy that Hyundai is part of the PGA TOUR family. In different discussions conducted, Finchem added, Hyundai revealed that it wanted to maintain the brand's momentum in the U.S. and strengthen its position in the Asian market. By sponsoring the tile, Hyundai is sure to meet these goals, Finchem concluded.