Will Become Arnold Palmer Invitational presented by MasterCard in 2007
ORLANDO, FL – PGA TOUR Commissioner Tim Finchem announced today that the TOUR's Bay Hill Invitational presented by MasterCard is changing names after this year to honor its longtime host, World Golf Hall of Famer Arnold Palmer.
Beginning in 2007, the tournament will be known as the Arnold Palmer Invitational presented by MasterCard. It is held annually at Palmer's Bay Hill Club.
"We have been discussing the possibility of a name change with Arnold and his family and how it would be an appropriate tribute to one of the game's all-time great champions and ambassadors," Finchem explained. "There was a strong sentiment to do this, and in the end we determined that it might as well occur sooner than later, particularly now that Arnold has consciously reduced his competitive playing schedule."
"Arnold has been the face of the tournament for a number of years, and it makes sense that it bears his name to honor his countless contributions to the tournament and to the PGA TOUR."
"It has been a matter of great pride for me when my name was placed on an entity of one sort or another over the years, but I can't think of anything that brings me more pleasure and satisfaction than having it on the tournament that has meant so much to me for so long," Palmer said.
The tournament first was introduced as the Florida Citrus Open Invitational in 1966 at Rio Pinar Country Club in Orlando, before relocating to Bay Hill Club in 1979. Proceeds from the tournament benefit the Arnold Palmer Hospital for Children, which has been serving patients since 1989.
"The tournament name change is certainly most appropriate for the man who has changed the face of the sport over the last 50 years and continues to impact it on a daily basis," said Tournament Director Scott Wellington. "This will do nothing but provide even greater awareness for our event, our loyal and dedicated sponsors, and Mr. Palmer's hospital and the Orlando community as a whole. We are tremendously excited about the future of the Arnold Palmer Invitational presented by MasterCard."
"MasterCard is proud to be associated with Arnold Palmer, a man who has done so much not just for the game of golf but for the Orlando community. We look forward to many more priceless moments both on the course and at the Arnold Palmer Hospital for Children," said Alan Heuer, Chief Operating Officer, MasterCard International.
About the PGA TOUR
The PGA TOUR is a tax-exempt membership organization of professional golfers. Its primary purpose is to provide competitive earnings opportunities for past, current and future members of the PGA TOUR, Champions Tour and Nationwide Tour; to protect the integrity of the game; and to help grow the reach of the game in the U.S. and around the world.
In 2006, the three Tours will compete in nearly 120 events for approximately $325 million in prize money. Tournaments will be held in eight countries outside the U.S. and in 38 states.
In addition to providing competitive opportunities for its membership, TOUR events also generate significant funds for local charities. In fact, the three Tours reached the $1 billion mark in overall charitable contributions in late 2005. The PGA TOUR's web site address is www.pgatour.com and the company is headquartered in Ponte Vedra Beach, FL.
About MasterCard International
MasterCard Incorporated is a leading global payments solutions company that provides a broad variety of innovative services in support of our global members' credit, deposit access, electronic cash, business-to-business and related payment programs. MasterCard, through its principal operating subsidiary, MasterCard International Incorporated, manages a family of well-known, widely accepted payment card brands including MasterCard®, Maestro® and Cirrus® and serves financial institutions, consumers and businesses in over 210 countries and territories. The MasterCard award-winning Priceless® advertising campaign is now seen in 105 countries and in 48 languages, giving the MasterCard brand a truly global reach and scope. For more information, go to www.mastercardinternational.com.