What does the future hold for the Sime Darby LPGA after 2015? The title sponsor will make the decision next year.
THE long-term future of the Sime Darby LPGA Tournament will be decided early next year.
This was divulged by Sime Darby Foundation chairman Tun Musa Hitam on the sidelines of the tournament at the Kuala Lumpur Golf and Country Club this week.
Tun Musa said that Sime Darby would make a decision to either cease its sponsorship of the tournament or continue after the end of its second three-year agreement that ends in 2015.
The tournament is in its fourth year with a total prize of US$2mil (RM6.3mil).
Tun Musa said that should the conglomerate, which also embraces cycling and football in a big way under its sports sponsorship umbrella, decide on extending their current deal, then the event could well turn out to be one of the best in the world of golf.
“A decision will definitely be taken on whether to continue or not after 2015,” Tun Musa said.
“And, who knows, if it is in the affirmative it could be an even bigger and better tournament.”
It is not unusual for sponsors to commit to long-term undertakings when it comes to underwriting golf tournaments – in some cases even seven-year deals.
However, it must be mentioned that quite a number of sponsors have fallen by the wayside in recent years due to financial difficulties. The plight of these organisations has affected all the main Tours, including the LPGA Tour and US PGA Tour.
But other new names have taken up the baton, and Sime Darby is a good example.
Should Sime Darby opt to commit a further four years on their present agreement, it would mean that their association with the Tour would be no less than 10 years in all.
Sime Darby, with diverse dealings in palm oil, property, medicare and the automotive industry among others, is certainly seen as one of those with enough financial muscle to make the commitment.
And the fact that they are the proprietors of the KLGCC makes even more sense why they should.
The co-sponsors of the tournament, one would imagine, would also like the tournament to stay. The LPGA Tour has grown in popularity in recent seasons and much of that has been down to the huge global television audience, which its commissioner Michael Whan says reaches some 600 million homes.
This sort of marketing platform is potent to say the least and one that the sponsors would dearly love to keep within their domain.
But, in the final analysis, it will be the Sime Darby Board of Directors who will say “yay or nay”.
My hope, and that of so many others, is that it will be a “yay”.