For Immediate Release June 26, 2006
The PGA's Western Open officially changes name
Driven by need to avoid confusion with Western Golf Alliance event
CHICAGO. Today, the Western Golf Association officially announced it is changing the name of the PGA Tour's Western Open. Previously called the Western Open and the Cialis Western Open, the tournament will be called the "BMW Championship" beginning in 2007.
A source within the golf industry who wished not to be identified said one of the "major factors" in changing the event name was the need for the tour event to differentiate itself from the Western Golf Alliance Open. "The similar names, and the fact the tour event will rotate between different locations as the Western Golf Alliance Open does, began causing confusion within the golf industry," the source stated.
"We knew that, eventually, the fact that our Opens had similar names would cause a ripple in golf circles," said Peter McGarry, WGA president. "It was never our intention to force anyone's hand in this matter, and we never requested that the Western Golf Association take action. I am glad that their opportunity to sell naming rights gave them a graceful out in this situation."
For Western Golf Alliance members, McGarry added reassurance that the organization would retain the name of its event. "We greatly value tradition. We don't believe that substantial changes to that tradition are worth any amount of money," he stated.
The PGA event will be called the BMW Championship beginning in 2007 when it switches from July to September and becomes part of a new championship points race. Under the six-year agreement announced Monday involving BMW, the PGA Tour and the Western Golf Association, the tournament will begin rotating locales in 2008.
"It is probably best that their tournament lose the 'western' term anyway. I mean, had these guys ever looked at a map? Chicago is 'western' in the same way Paris Hilton is 'prudish'. Whoever named that tournament in the first place wasn't the sharpest knife in the drawer." McGarry concluded.
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About the Western Golf Alliance: The Western Golf Alliance is the premier golf organization in the United States. The WGA exists to further the greatness of this grand sport of golf through the improvement of golf play by its members, the promotion of golf rules, etiquette, and tradition, and the ability to gather together from time to time for golf events and tournaments. The regional organization spans five western states, and is organized into nine geographic regions. Further information is available at http://www.westerngolf.org/.