Tampa PGA Tour stop finds sponsor

Updated: September 6, 2013, 11:22 AM ET
By Bob Harig | ESPN.com

The PGA Tour event near Tampa, Fla., has secured a title sponsor, assuring the Florida Swing will continue in its present form for at least the next four years.

Valspar Corporation, an international manufacturer of paint and coatings based in Minneapolis, has agreed to a four-year deal, keeping a tour event at the Innisbrook Resort in Palm Harbor, Fla.

BB&T Corp., out of Winston-Salem, N.C., will be the presenting sponsor for the next four years.

The tournament, won in March by Kevin Streelman, went without a title sponsor in 2013 after Transitions Optical ended its four-year association following the 2012 event.

The tournament went by the name Tampa Bay Championship this year. It will now be called the Valspar Championship and gives the PGA Tour title sponsorship for every tournament on the 2013-14 schedule.

The PGA Tour had a contingency plan in place in case a title sponsor could not be found.

It was prepared to move the Puerto Rico Open into the Tampa date; Puerto Rico now serves as an opposite event the same week as the WGC-Cadillac Championship in Miami, which is played the week before the Innisbrook tournament.

The order of tournaments in Florida will remain the Honda Classic, the WGC-Cadillac (with Puerto Rico as an opposite), the Valspar Championship and the Arnold Palmer Invitational.

The Tampa event, which will take place March 13-16 in 2014, has struggled with sponsorship since first getting on the schedule as a fall event in 2000 called the Tampa Bay Classic (it was canceled in 2001 due to the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks) while played opposite a World Golf Championship event.

In 2003, the tournament became the Chrysler Championship and was played in the fall the week before the Tour Championship. It was known as the PODS Championship in 2007 and 2008 when it first moved to March. Transitions was the title sponsor from 2009 to 2012.

Innisbrook's Copperhead course has traditionally been rated among the best on the PGA Tour.

Bob Harig | email

Golf Writer, ESPN.com

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