As tournament director of the Neediest Kids Championship, formerly the Prince George’s County Open, Teo Sodeman knows all about change. His tournament, now in its sixth year, will be played at its third different site, in its third different month, and under its second different sponsor when TPC Potomac at Avenel Farm hosts Oct. 4-7.
Another change for the event is that it has become part of the Web.com Tour. Wednesday at Congressional Country Club, PGA Tour commissioner Tim Finchem announced that Web.com had signed a 10-year agreement to become sponsor of the developmental circuit, formerly known as the Nationwide Tour.
Jacksonville-based company is a rapidly-growing, 15-year-old provider of Web services to small and medium-sized businesses. CEO David Brown explained that his company was attracted by the unique branding opportunity the tour could provide with its placement in large and medium-sized cities.
“We’ve been a very quiet company up to this point,” Brown said. “But we believe that mass adoption of the internet by small businesses is happening now, so now we think it’s time to strike, and we looked through all the different opportunities, and we felt that the PGA Tour was the best opportunity not only to create voice in the marketplace but to create positive voice.”
Sodeman and other representatives from the 28 tournaments on the web.com Tour dined together Tuesday night and were at Congressional on Wednesday morning to promote the change.
“Mr. Brown is very committed to not only the tour long-term but he’s also committed to put activation dollars forward to help us grow together,” Sodeman said.
Recent changes to the PGA’s qualifying process will give added exposure to the Web.com Tour starting next year. The PGA Tour ‘Q’ School tournament in December formerly offered players a chance to advance directly to the PGA. Starting next year, ‘Q’ School will feed players to the Web.com Tour where they will have a chance to advance to the PGA. A three-tournament playoff series in the fall – similar to the PGA Tour’s FedEx Cup playoffs — will determine which players advance.
With a move from June to October and to a prestigious course which formerly hosted a PGA Tour event, Sodeman believes his tournament is better positioned to become one of the three end-of-season events which will likely receive more exposure now that PGA Tour cards are at stake.
“We’re working toward that every day,” Sodeman said. “We need to identify a partner that shares our vision and we’re working on that now. Things look good.”