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
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
Fred Meyer had been sole title sponsor for the entire history of
''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
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.