HOUSTON – Following almost 25 years as the title sponsor for the Houston Open, Shell Oil Company officials announced Wednesday the oil giant will be renouncing its sponsorship.
“We very much appreciate the efforts the [Houston Golf Association] and PGA Tour have undertaken to support our brands throughout our fruitful quarter-century plus partnership,” Shell President Bruce Culpepper said.
Culpepper said the 26th Shell Houston Open in 2017 will be the last tournament to hold the company’s names. The decision was driven by a combination of economics and a need to realign its branded sponsorship strategy around the world, Culpepper said.
According HGA, the tournament has generated an estimated $64 million for local charities and youth programs since it started back in 1946. Of that amount, more than $60 million has been raised since Shell Oil Company became the title sponsor in 1992, the association reports.
“Shell has been a tremendous partner to the Houston Golf Association and while this phase in our partnership is coming to a close, our work together has created the best foundation we’ve had in the 70-year history of our professional golf event,” said HGA President and CEO Steve Timms said.
The search for a new headline sponsor will begin immediately, Timms said.
“We are enthusiastic about the future of the HGA and this tournament, and we remain steadfast in furthering the goals of our charitable programs and the impact the tournament will continue to have,” He said.
Timms said the PGA Tour has a proven track record of securing replacement sponsors and is confident a new title sponsor will be identified, particularly with the advance notice Shell has provided.
“We greatly appreciate all that Shell has done over the years to support its hometown tournament and the wonderful charitable work of the HGA. While we truly regret such a wonderful association will be ending next year, we fully understand Shell’s situation. We will begin the search for new title sponsor right away and are confident we will be successful in those efforts,” PGA Tour Commissioner Tim Finchem said.