AKRON — Bridgestone Americas Inc. has agreed to be the title sponsor for a PGA Senior Players Championship event at Akron's Firestone County Club starting in 2019, replacing the Bridgestone Invitational that's been part of the regular PGA Tour since 2006.
The inaugural Bridgestone Senior Players Championship will be played the week of July 8-14, 2019, at Firestone Country Club's South Course in Akron. The parties agreed to stage the event annually through 2022.
Financial terms of the deal were not disclosed. Bridgestone also extended its marketing partner relationship with the PGA Tour through 2022, keeping Bridgestone the "official tire of the PGA Tour and PGA Tour Champions," the PGA said.
This decision comes as the World Golf Championships (WGC) – Bridgestone Invitational, which has been staged at Firestone CC since 2006, moves to another, yet-to-be-announced course in 2019.
The announcement does not impact the 2018 WGC – Bridgestone Invitational, which will be contested Aug. 1-5 at Firestone CC, Bridgestone and the PGA said.
"Bridgestone has been a tremendous partner and valued member of the PGA Tour family since 2005, and we are excited to begin this new journey with them as we bring major championship golf to Northeast Ohio with the Bridgestone Senior Players Championship," PGA Tour Commissioner Jay Monahan said.
"With Firestone Country Club's South Course as the host venue, golf's 65-year tradition in Akron will continue."
The newly named Bridgestone Senior Players Championship will return to Northeast Ohio for a second time in its 35-year history after being played at Canterbury Golf Club in Beechwood from 1983-1986.
The PGA Seniors Championship is restricted to PGA of America members in good standing, 50 years of age or older.
The tournament over the years has been played on courses in nine cities, including Philadelphia, Baltimore, Pittsburgh, New York City and Chicago. Exmoor Country Club near Chicago will host this year's event the week of July 9-15.
Along with its stature as a major championship and significance in determining the season-long Charles Schwab Cup champion, the Bridgestone Senior Players also will continue to offer its champion a return trip to the PGA Tour with an exemption into The Players Championship, the PGA said.
"We are incredibly proud to extend our partnership with the PGA Tour and ensure that world-class golf will continue at Firestone Country Club through the Bridgestone Senior Players Championship," said Gordon Knapp, CEO and president, Bridgestone Americas.
"The Akron community and the sport of golf have played significant roles in Bridgestone's history and will continue to play significant roles in our future, so it is important to us that we carry the sport's legacy in this area forward. We are excited to work with absolute legends of the sport to start a new chapter in a 65-year tradition of premier golf events that have made so many positive economic and charitable impacts on this community."