For the first time since 2006, Crowne Plaza will not grace signage as the Colonial tournament’s title sponsor and will be replaced this year by Dean & DeLuca. Rodger Mallison Star-Telegram
For the first time since 2006, Crowne Plaza will not grace signage as the Colonial tournament’s title sponsor and will be replaced this year by Dean & DeLuca. Rodger Mallison Star-Telegram

Golf

Colonial tournament lands Dean & DeLuca as title sponsor

February 15, 2016 08:02 AM

UPDATED February 15, 2016 09:52 AM

Fort Worth’s annual PGA Tour event has a new title sponsor, with the tournament at Colonial Country Club to be called the Dean & DeLuca Invitational for the next six years.

The new name takes effect today, based on a six-year agreement between the specialty foods retailer and the PGA Tour. Financial terms were not disclosed, but the purse for this year’s event, to be played May 23-29, has been increased to $6.7 million.

The 2016 tournament marks the first time the annual tour stop will be contested without the word “Colonial” in its official title in the event’s 70-year history. In an era of near-universal title sponsorship for PGA Tour events, Colonial had been the lone golf course listed as part of a tournament title in recent seasons. The Fort Worth event, which began in 1946, is the tour’s longest-tenured tournament held at a single venue.

Club and city officials expressed satisfaction with the agreement, which ended more than a year of negotiations with prospective suitors and will help the tournament remain among the primary revenue-producers for local charities on the PGA Tour. Last year’s event, played as the Crowne Plaza Invitational at Colonial, generated $9.1 million for local charities, and the plan is to continue that trend under the Dean & DeLuca flag.

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For us to celebrate our 70th and, looking ahead, 75th anniversary with Dean & DeLuca means a lot to Colonial Country Club and the Fort Worth community.

Tournament chairman Bobby Patton, a Colonial CC member

The tournament, linked globally with five-time winner and Fort Worth golf legend Ben Hogan, has generated $80 million in cash and services for more than 150 local charitable organizations over the past two decades. To build on that legacy, and to meet the demands of paying the annual purse, club officials needed a successor to Crowne Plaza, which ended its nine-year run as title sponsor after the 2015 event.

For executives at Dean & DeLuca, an emerging international brand in the fine food industry with plans to expand into Texas, the opportunity to sponsor a golf tournament in Fort Worth was a good fit. The six-year agreement runs through the 2021 tournament, which will mark Colonial’s 75th anniversary as a PGA Tour stop.

“The partnership with Dean & DeLuca is very exciting given their expansion plans in the Dallas-Fort Worth area and key PGA Tour locations across the country,” tournament chairman Bobby Patton said in a prepared statement. “For us to celebrate our 70th and, looking ahead, 75th anniversary with Dean & DeLuca means a lot to Colonial Country Club and the Fort Worth community.”

The agreement also means a lot to the PGA Tour, which now has a title sponsor in place for all events that were seeking one for the 2015-16 season. In a statement, PGA Tour commissioner Tim Finchem said: “We are very pleased to introduce Dean & DeLuca as the new title sponsor of one of the most historic and prestigious tournaments on tour. Dean & DeLuca is recognized for its uncompromising commitment to excellence and customer service in the gourmet food industry and we look forward to working with their team to integrate their brand, products and expertise into the tournament.”

Dean & DeLuca, headquartered in Wichita, Kan., operates full markets as well as café setups in several U.S. cities. International locations include Tokyo, Bangkok, Singapore, Kuwait City, Qatar, Dubai, Thailand, Korea and Turkey. The company began in 1977 under the direction of co-founders Joel Dean, Giorgio DeLuca and Jack Ceglic.

We are very pleased to introduce Dean & DeLuca as the new title sponsor of one of the most historic and prestigious tournaments on tour.

PGA Tour commissioner Tim Finchem

The first retail location opened in New York’s SoHo district in 1977, with subsequent outlets surfacing elsewhere in New York as well as in Charlotte, N.C., Washington, D.C., Napa Valley, Calif., Leawood, Kan. and Wichita, Kan. Corporate expansion plans call for future DFW locations. In a statement, Fort Worth Mayor Betsy Price said: “We are delighted … Dean & DeLuca’s commitment to invest in our community in this way means that the annual tournament at Colonial will continue proudly like it has for the last 70 years.”

The agreement provides Colonial with its fifth different title sponsor since 1989. It also ends concerns that the 2016 tournament in Fort Worth might be contested without title sponsorship, which would have had major financial repercussions for club members. Once placed on the PGA Tour calendar, the host organization is responsible for paying the purse at the event.

5 Different title sponsors for the Colonial tournament since 1989

When the tournament was between title sponsors in 1995, the event unfolded as the Colonial National Invitation Tournament and club members covered the $1.5 million purse that year. With this year’s purse bump to $6.7 million, repeating that experience would have marked a more significant financial hurdle. With the Dean & DeLuca deal in place, such concerns are in the rearview mirror for the next six years.

Jimmy Burch: 817-390-7760, @Jimmy_Burch

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Colonial tournament names under title sponsors

1989-1994: Southwestern Bell Colonial

1995: No title sponsor

1996-2001: MasterCard Colonial

2002-2006: Bank of America Colonial

2007-2015: Crowne Plaza Invitational at Colonial

2016-2021: Dean & DeLuca Invitational