AKRON, OH – The future of the World Golf Championships-Bridgestone Invitational was the talk of the golf course Tuesday morning, after well-known golf writer John Feinstein tweeted about the tournament’s plans to leave Firestone Country Club.
Feinstein tweeted, “Akron-Firestone will get PGA Senior Players in 2019 after Bridgestone pulls out following this year’s tournament.”
Feinstein is known to be a fairly accurate source on the happenings inside the world of golf.
Bridgestone’s sponsorship agreement ends after the 2018 tournament. They first sponsored the event at Firestone in 2006, but the country club has hosted top pro golfers for major tournaments for decades.
Tournament Executive Director Don Padgett said in a statement to FOX 8:
“We’re making great progress in our conversations about the future of professional golf in Akron and at Firestone Country Club. Our focus today is preparing for August, when we will host another crowd-pleasing World Golf Championships-Bridgestone Invitational. We anticipate having related news to share with the community in the coming months.”
Local golfers say they would hate to see the tournament go.
“Even if they switch it to bringing in the seniors, it’s not going to be the same impact as bringing in all the pro golfers,” said Dick Fenwick who attends the tournament every year.
Akron Mayor Daniel Horrigan also sent FOX8 a statement about the possibility of the city losing the tournament:
“The City continues to partner with our business community and the PGA to see that Akron and the Firestone Country Club are the best possible position to continue to host world-class golf events. We look forward to welcoming the golf world to Akron for the Bridgestone Invitational this August.”
Local people are also worried about the potential negative economic impact losing the WGC Bridgestone Invitational could have on Akron.
“Losing it all together, if they didn’t have nothing to replace it, that would be a shame for Akron you know and the community cause you know they do draw money in,” said Daniel Grice, who was out golfing Wednesday.
“It’s shame. We need it here in this part of Ohio,” Grice continued.
The tournament also benefits local non-profit organizations. In 2016 it raised more than a million dollars for more than two dozen area charities.