Golf Classic deadline approaches - MSNewsNow.com - Jackson, MS

Golf Classic deadline approaches

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MADISON, MS (Mississippi News Now) -

After 5 years as the tournament's name sponsor, Viking Range Corporation ended its relationship with the golf classic earlier this year.

Now tournament director Randy Watkins is concerned the state may lost the event. He says even though they have been working  to get a primary sponsor, an agreement has not been reached.

"At the moment, no we do not and the corporate community has stepped up, we need some more help and we're looking for others who want to be a part of this great community event that's great for our state," said tournament director, Randy Watkins.

With an October 1, deadline looming, Watkins says officials believe they are close to getting a primary sponsor and a full compliment of financial support. However, he says they need more time. 

"Working with the PGA Tour, we've ask for and received an extension through October 14th to try and put together the last few pieces of the puzzle. So I remain real hopeful and I'm getting a whole lot of encouragement, it looks like a lot of people are interested in the tournament. I'm glad of that and it sure is helping push this along," Watkins added.

Meanwhile, Madison Mayor Mary Hawkins-Butler says, the event benefits the entire state. 

"When we talk about what it does for Mississippi has a whole, this is not just a Madison thing. We talk about what it does for the image of this state and you can't put a price on that," Hawkins-Butler said.

It would be like saying ball games in Starkville are only help Starkville and ball games in Oxford only help Oxford. It's really not the case. We are televised globally on the Golf Channel with some 90 million viewers getting a look at Mississippi," Watkins added.

A study by Mississippi State University shows the tournament has a $20 million impact on the tri-county area.

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