NORTON, MA - SEPTEMBER 05: Webb Simpson reacts after he made a putt to force a playoff on the 18th hole during the final round of the Deutsche Bank Championship at TPC Boston on September 5, 2011 in Norton, Massachusetts. (Photo by Jim Rogash/Getty Images)
The Deutsche Bank Championship has become a fixture on the PGA Tour and with New England golf fans. An agreement to continue the tradition for four more years is nearly a done deal.
NORTON, Mass. -- Deutsche Bank, the PGA Tour and the myriad other parties involved in the FedEx Cup playoff event are close to inking a four-year extension to retain the financial institution as title sponsor of its namesake championship through 2016.
“We’ve come to a handshake,” Seth Waugh, the outgoing chief executive of Deutsche Bank Americas, said Monday about the five partners -- the German bank, the Tour, EMC Inc., IMG, and the Tiger Woods Foundation -- that must finalize details before the deal becomes official. “Maybe [we’re] not at the one-yard line, but inside the 10.
Speaking at the tournament’s annual media day to promote the 10th anniversary of what has become a traditional Labor Day event, Waugh was certain the deal would get done despite his inability to come armed with a renewed pact. He set the week of the tournament -- which starts on August 31 and runs through September 3 -- as the new target date to announce an agreement.
“I still like our chances more than ever [to extend the contract] and believe it will be totally definitive by championship week,” said Waugh, who had previously announced he would step down from his high-profile post that comes with such privileges as joining Woods for practice rounds.
The Deutsche Bank Championship remains the second of four FedEx Cup tilts on the Tour schedule. The event’s most recent two-year agreement will expire at the end of this year’s competition, but Waugh made it clear that a new four-year compact was little more than a formality.
Even Tour commissioner Tim Finchem, who conceded after last year’s tournament that there had been discussions about moving the event, seemed attached to the TV-friendly TPC Boston venue.
“The problem [with shifting to a new site] is the players like this place an awful lot,” Finchem told reporters after Webb Simpson beat Chez Reavie in a playoff for the 2011 title. “It’s pretty cool television-wise ... . We get good crowds [at TPC Boston], the sponsor likes it. I don’t think we get a lot of traction with the idea to rotate it, just to be rotating it.
“I’m not saying we wouldn’t,” Finchem added, “but we’d have to see a rotation that just jumps out at us and says ‘hey, this would be good.’’’
If it were totally up to Waugh, such talk would be verboten.
“We would never want to leave this area,” he said last year. “It’s New England’s tournament. They’ve embraced it. We love that.”
Waugh repeated such sentiments on Monday, stating that a “non-negotiable” factor in any contract extension was keeping the event in Boston.
“We are really proud of what we’ve built here over the years,” Waugh said about one of just two Tour contests that take place in New England. “We feel like we’ve become a part of Boston’s sports families.”