Sunday, April 29, 2007

Futures Tour Tourney Might Leave McAllen in '08

The Duramed Futures Jalapeno Golf Classic wraps up today (Sunday), and this might its final year in McAllen.

The City of McAllen kicks in $50,000 a year to fund the tournament, which is run by the McAllen Hispanic Chamber of Commerce. It takes $130,000 total per year to run the tourney, with nearly all the remaining operating expenses comes via corporate sponsorships.

Cynthia Sakulenzki, president of the Hispanic Chamber, says it's unlikely the tournament can continue in McAllen without at least some subsidy from the city. So she's been talking to other cities in the Rio Grande Valley:

"We’ve been talking to some other cities, and after we meet the decision-making persons in each community and talk about what they have to offer, we will make our decision,” said Cynthia Sakulenzki, president of the McAllen Hispanic Chamber of Commerce, which organizes the annual women’s golf tournament.

“We would like to stay in McAllen. But wherever we go, our main concern is bringing in a professional sporting event where the Rio Grande Valley is highlighted.”

Weslaco’s Tierra Santa golf course, Edinburg’s Los Lagos golf course, Pharr’s Tierra Del Sol golf course and Cimarron Country Club were all listed by Sakulenzki as potential venues for next year’s event. She said officials from the three cities and the country club had called her to discuss the requirements for hosting the tournament.

So the good news for Valley golf fans is that there appears a good chance the tournament will remain someone in the Valley. And Futures Tour president Zayra Calderon sounds as if that's what she's hoping for, too:

"Most all of our tournaments are supported by the cities, whether it’s in Lakeland (Fla.) or Bloomfield (Conn.),” Calderon said.

“I love McAllen and the players love McAllen. They felt such hospitality ever since the first year, and the golf course is in great shape.”
For its part, the City of McAllen says its subsidy was never meant to be open-ended, and besides, there are more important things to spend money on:

When McAllen agreed to support the tournament in 2005, the intention was that within three years it would find a corporate sponsor to pick up the city’s share, said McAllen Mayor Richard Cortez. A regular attendee at the golf tournament the last two years, Cortez said he nevertheless supported the City Commission’s decision.

“We’re supportive of the golf tournament, but we just have so many things we need to do. We have to spread out our resources as efficiently as possible,” he said. “I would prefer to have it in McAllen, but I wouldn’t be disappointed if it went to Los Lagos. Edinburg is a sister city of ours, and we want them to do well, too.”

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