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AT&T to make last hurrah at Champions Classic

Company will step away in 2010 after nine years of sponsorship

Posted: August 13, 2008 9:28 p.m.
Updated: October 15, 2008 5:02 a.m.

AT&T will sponsor Santa Clarita's biggest golf tournament, the Champions Classic once more.

Fear not, local golf fans. The Champions Classic still has its sponsor.

AT&T will continue to sponsor the AT&T Champions Classic Champions Tour event at Valencia Country Club for the final time in 2009, Brian Fitzgerald, executive director of the tournament, announced Tuesday.

The tournament will take place March 9-15, 2009, in Valencia, with Champions Charities again operating and managing the event on behalf of AT&T. The company will be in its fourth year of sponsorship of the tournament, before stepping away in 2010.

"AT&T is very proud of this tournament, in particular how it has grown through the years," Fitzgerald said in a statement. "We are now ready to pass the baton on to someone to pick up what we have built, along with the club and the community, into a quality Champions Tour event for the professional players, the Santa Clarita Valley and the Greater Los Angeles area."

AT&T Champions Classic Director of Marketing Mike Bone said the sponsorship is a positive thing for the SCV.

"It's great news," Bone said. "We're excited about keeping the tournament in the (Santa Clarita) Valley.

Also, having another year to transfer to another company is great."

Bone said the tournament brings an estimated $10 million impact to the Santa Clarita Valley economy.

"It's ranked among the top three golf courses by the players on the tour," Bone said. "There are only 30 Champions Tour events in the world."

Denis Watson is the defending champion of the AT&T Champions Classic, beating Loren Roberts earlier this year in a three-hole playoff.

AT&T has been in the entitlement name for the event since 2006. Before that, SBC and Pacific Bell, companies that were part of AT&T acquisitions and mergers, had naming rights on the event starting in 1998.

The tournament's history in the Los Angeles area dates back to 1990, originating at Rancho Park Golf Course, before moving to Wilshire Country Club in 1995. The event moved to Valencia Country Club in 2001.


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