First reported by Golfweek (opens in new tab), AT&T, who sponsor both the Pebble Beach Classic and Byron Nelson Championship, have reportedly asked out of its sponsorship of the Byron Nelson after this year.
However, in another twist, it was reportedly stated by multiple sources that Raytheon Technologies, who are an aerospace and defense company, was set to take over the Byron Nelson but PGA Tour Commissioner, Jay Monahan, stopped the deal after it was revealed that Raytheon had sold missiles to Saudi Arabia. Saudi Arabia’s Public Investment Fund backs the LIV Golf League, who are currently involved in a courtroom battle with the PGA Tour.
One tournament director, who spoke about the potential deal, stated that: “The optics were not good. I give Jay credit for stepping in and making the right call,” with the decline due to the fact that, in August, the US State Department approved the sale of weapons to Saudi Arabia.
Golfweek reported that Raytheon’s involvement and a potential $3 billion deal led the Tour and Monahan to think twice about such an arrangement. Neither Raytheon Technologies nor AT&T have commented on the matter.
So, what is next for AT&T, who became the head sponsor of the Byron Nelson in 2015? Well, after a near 10-year run, they are set to stand down but it is not thought that they will move away from the PGA Tour completely, with the company reportedly staying as the sponsor for the Pebble Beach Pro-Am.
In 2023-24, it has been claimed that the Pebble Beach Pro-Am will become a designated tournament on the PGA Tour schedule, with an event purse increase to $20 million which significantly will come from the tournament sponsor.
Although a full PGA Tour schedule has not been announced for 2023-24, we do know that Myrtle Beach will stage a new PGA Tour tournament to be held as an alternate to a designated event. A date has yet to be announced, but the Tour has stated that it will be a “full-field additional event played the same week as a designated event” on the 2024 calendar, with it being held at the Dunes Golf and Beach Club.
One big talking point though has been the introduction of limited field, no-cut events, with the news causing a significant amount of backlash. Despite this, Monahan is prepared to push on with the idea of no-cut events despite…
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