Local Nationwide event's future unclear

GREENSBORO, Ga. -- The future of the University of Georgia-affiliated Nationwide Tour golf event remains unsettled according to UGA president Michael Adams.

Earlier this month, the UGA Golf Course hosted the Stadion Classic at UGA for the third year in a three-year contract. Now the university must determine whether it makes financial sense to re-sign as a tournament host with the satellite golf tour.

“There are three moving parts: We are a moving part, the tour itself is a moving part and our major sponsor. We are in discussions with all of those groups right now and we hope to have that worked out,” Adams said at the UGA Athletic Association’s annual board of directors meeting on Thursday.

Stadion Money Management, based in nearby Watkinsville, Ga., has served as the event’s title sponsor since it moved across town from Jennings Mill Country Club to the UGA Golf Course three years ago. As Adams mentioned, Stadion also must determine whether it is getting bang for its sponsorship buck -- because if it does not remain, Georgia would have to identify a replacement for the event to remain on campus.

Further complicating the issue is the Nationwide Tour’s umbrella sponsorship.

Nationwide Insurance is ending its sponsorship after 10 years to instead serve as presenting sponsor of the Memorial Tournament on the PGA Tour. That title sponsorship eliminated some interested potential sponsors -- typically Nationwide’s competitors in the insurance business -- for the Athens-based tournament. The new umbrella sponsor would likely place similar competitor limitations on sponsorships for individual events, assuming the tour is able to find a new sponsor, at all. Auto maker Hyundai recently flirted with taking over Nationwide’s role before ultimately opting against making that commitment.

Adams told the board that tournament organizers hope to decide by early fall whether to re-up with the golf tour, but the lack of resolution on multiple financial fronts makes it difficult to predict whether the local tournament has a future. Adams said after the board meeting that it is far from a certainty that the event will be back in Athens next spring.