The PGA Tour has begun looking for an agency to promote its World Golf Championships, a new series of tournaments teeing off next year with an international field of competitors.
Sources said shops contacted about the assignment include Professional Golfers Association Tour agency of record GSD&M, Austin, Texas; Grey Advertising, New York; Leo Burnett, Chicago; and TBWA Chiat/Day. It was not clear if the latter's New York or Venice, Calif., office was asked to pitch.
Executives at each of the agencies either declined comment or could not be reached. PGA official Bob Combs had not returned calls at press time.
A request for proposal issued by the Ponte Vedra, Fla.-based client is due back this month. A decision could come by the end of March. The new tournaments are backed by PGA Tour organizations in Europe, Japan, South Africa and elsewhere.
Billings are not expected to exceed $5 million initially, one insider said, adding that agencies may view the assignment as an opportunity to network with blue-chip tour sponsors like Anheuser-Busch, State Farm Insurance and The Walt Disney Co.
The World Golf Championships debut next February at La Costa Resort & Spa in Carlsbad, Calif., where 64 of the world's top-ranked players will compete in a match-play format. Two other events are also scheduled, one in the U.S. and one in Spain.
The new tourneys have been pegged by some as an outgrowth of an idea supported by golfer Greg Norman. In 1994, Norman backed an effort to create an international tournament series that would have competed with PGA Tour events. The initiative never materialized but it did get the attention of PGA Tour commissioner Tim Finchem.
It is not clear which media will be used to promote the new events. GSD&M last month broke a TV campaign for the PGA Tour with a "These guys are good" tagline.