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Star-Bulletin Sports

Friday, September 15, 2000

P G A _ T O U R

PGA, Hawaii
Tourism Authority
near deal

The proposed agreement
would include starting the
golf tour in the islands

By Ben DiPietro
Associated Press

The Hawaii Tourism Authority and the PGA Tour are nearing agreement on a marketing partnership to guarantee the PGA Tour begins every year in the islands and would include at least six Hawaii tournaments a year.

The two sides expect a deal to be reached in the next 30 to 60 days, Ric Clarson, vice president of business development for the PGA Tour, said yesterday.

The PGA Tour presently has no marketing agreement with a particular state or golfing destination, Clarson said, but he said the deal has benefits for both sides.

"It made sense, with the number of events we play in the state, to look at a formal and more functional relationship with the state," Clarson said by phone from PGA Tour headquarters in Florida.

"At one point in our history we had an official golf destinations program, but we haven't crafted anything with a particular state like we're doing with Hawaii," Clarson said. "A lot of it is because of the uniqueness of Hawaii and that marketplace."

Clarson wouldn't provide details of the proposed agreement, but Hawaii tourism officials outlined the parameters of the deal on Wednesday.

Along with starting the tour in Hawaii and guaranteeing at least six PGA Tour and Senior Tour events, the agreement calls for expanded marketing of Hawaii tourism during PGA Tour broadcasts; tie-ins with PGA Tour retail outlets and the PGA Tour Web site; use of tournament footage and athlete images in Hawaii tourism advertising and access to the PGA mailing list of 500,000 golfers.

With a recent study by the Hawaii Visitors and Convention Bureau showing golf had a $1 billion impact on the state economy in 1997, tourism officials say the benefits of working with the PGA Tour are obvious.

"Golf shows Hawaii at its best," HTA executive director Bob Fishman said. "It's the beauty of the outdoors, it's the ocean, it's the mountains, it's the well manicured greens.

"It's precisely how we want people to think about Hawaii."

While Hawaii gets to market itself to potential visitors through PGA telecasts, staging events in Hawaii allows the PGA to show golf live during prime time to East Coast markets, Clarson said.

"When we are trying to put forth a 10-month schedule on PGA Tour and the Senior Tour, marketplaces become critical, particularly in the winter months," Clarson said.

"Playing in Hawaii allows us great weather and the ability to broadcast live during prime time back to the East Coast.

"It's a strategic move on both our parts."

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