On Sunday afternoon at Bulle Rock Golf Course in Havre de Grace, Md., the curtain will come down on the final McDonald's LPGA Championship, ending a 29-year association between the Golden Arches brand and women's golf.
Yesterday at The ACE Club in Lafayette Hill, what Jim Furyk had hinted at 2 months ago during media day for his 11th Exelon Invitational became official. The event that he has hosted so successfully is indeed also going away. At least for the forseeable future.
"It's not going to happen next year, for a number of different reasons," Furyk said. "Most important, the economic situation is very difficult. In light of that, Exelon's going to cut back on some of its spending and put money in other areas.
"We're hoping, though, that we can kind of resurrect it again [at some point]. That's what we've looked at."
The 1-day exhibition match, which has raised some $1 million for the Boys & Girls Clubs of Philadelphia, has always featured many of golf's top names. This time was no exception, as Furyk was joined by Kenny Perry, who in April nearly won the Masters at age 48; Paul Casey, who is ranked third in the world; and Anthony Kim, one of the stars of last September's victorious U.S. Ryder Cup team.
In the best-ball match play yesterday, Furyk and Kim won, 3 and 2, and split $160,000. Casey and Perry split $120,000.
"You don't really know until you get here, but I was pleasantly surprised," Perry said. "It's a huge outing. They do a great job. I started our chapter for the Boys & Girls Clubs in Franklin, Ky. We broke ground out 3 years ago. We have over 500 kids there now. So this is pretty exciting. It's a pretty neat day."
It also has filled a void, if only for one afternoon, of bringing the PGA Tour to the Philadelphia area. For the next 2 years that void will be filled by Tiger Woods, who is moving his AT&T National to Aronimink Golf Club in Newtown Square. In these economic times, Furyk would obviously have encountered more difficulty maintaining the necessary support alongside a national tournament.
"You know with [Tiger's] people involved, it's going to be a first-class event," said Furyk, who finished one shot behind a surging Woods on Sunday at The Memorial in Dublin, Ohio, despite closing with a 69. "It's going to be great for this area. I really think Pennsylvania and Philadelphia need to have [a PGA Tour] event. It's a good chance to showcase what we have here . . .
"We've had an extremely long run," said Furyk, who was born in West Chester. "I don't know how many events on Tour have had the same title sponsor for 11 years, but I guarantee it's less than a handful. I really appreciate everything [Exelon's] done, the work they've put into it. Both Exelon and I have factored into the Boys & Girls Club budget. We have a commitment to keep supporting that group. We'll find some ways to keep that going up, giving some funds to such a good organization."
Which obviously is the ultimate consideration. And who knows? Maybe after Tiger's tourney heads back to Washington in 2012, the Exelon will return in some form. In the meantime, the snapshots are all good.
"I've enjoyed it," said Furyk, who should be one of the favorites at next week's U.S. Open on Long Island's Bethpage Black, despite the fact that he missed the cut there in 2002. "People come up to me almost every week, throughout the country, telling me they come to the event and they love it. To make a difference in the community . . . when you put it all together, I'm really proud of what we've done, what we accomplished.
"To think of the players we've had here. Go through all the guys ranked in the top 10 consistently over the last 5, 10 years, and we've had almost every one of them. That probably means as much to me as anything else. For these guys to not to take a day off, when they want to get home to the families or get to the next event, and they have sponsor commitments as well. For them to come help me out really means a lot."