Retailer ends sponsorship of Jacobsen's tourney
PORTLAND, Ore. -- After 17 years, the Fred Meyer retail chain has ended its sponsorship of its namesake Fred Meyer Challenge, a charity golf tournament founded by PGA Tour pro Peter Jacobsen.
The decision was announced Tuesday at a joint news conference by Jacobsen and Sam Duncan, president of Portland-based Fred Meyer Stores Inc.
The change leaves open the future of the Challenge.
''It was a difficult decision for us, but things have changed in the retail industry that made it necessary to bring this chapter of our history to a close,'' Duncan said.
He said consolidation by retailers and their suppliers over the past decade made it increasingly difficult to attract all the sponsors needed to support The Challenge, even before the recession.
Fred Meyer had been sole title sponsor for the entire history of the tournament.
''Of course we're disappointed,'' said Jacobsen, CEO and chairman of Peter Jacobsen Productions Inc., the tournament host.
''Seventeen years as title sponsor is a long time. That's pretty phenomenal,'' Jacobsen said.
The Fred Meyer Challenge has contributed $9.5 million to eight local children's charities, along with one-time annual donations to more than 100 other organizations since 1986. The donation from this year's event will put total contributions over the $10 million mark.
The tournament has brought many of the biggest names in professional golf to the Northwest, including Arnold Palmer, Jack Nicklaus, Fuzzy Zoeller, Mark O'Meara, Payne Stewart, Fred Couples, Craig Stadler, Ernie Els, Greg Norman, David Duval, Phil Mickelson and Sergio Garcia.
Jacobson said the event could go on if a new sponsor is found within 60 days, or even by the end of the year.
''We are exploring all the possibilities,'' he said.
Copyright 2002 by The Associated Press
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