PGA Tour Champions returns to Japan with Mastercard backing

Golf’s PGA Tour Champions has announced it will return to Japan next year, with payment services company Mastercard title sponsoring a tournament in Tokyo.

The newly-named Mastercard Japan Championship will join the senior tour schedule on the week of June 3-9, 2019.

The 2019 Championship will mark the Tour’s return to Japan following the inaugural Japan Airlines Championship in September 2017 and will again be contested at Narita Golf Club (Accordia Golf) in Narita-City, Chiba Prefecture. A field of 68 players, inclusive of eight local sponsor exemptions, will compete for a purse of $2.5m (€2.13m).

Mastercard’s backing comes after it extended both its presenting sponsorship of the Arnold Palmer Invitational through 2020 and exclusive global marketing relationship as the preferred payment of the PGA Tour through 2022 under a deal struck in March 2017.

PGA Tour Champions president Greg McLaughlin said: “Mastercard has been a tremendous partner of the PGA Tour since 1995, and we are eager to build on that great history in an important international market with the Mastercard Japan Championship.”

The inaugural PGA Tour Champions event at Narita Golf Club was won by Scotland’s Colin Montgomerie (pictured). Next year’s tournament will be conducted by PGA Tour Champions with support from the Professional Golfers’ Association of Japan (JPGA).

Most recent

The partnership is understood to be a three-season deal, from 2019-20 to 2021-22, and builds on AXA’s existing Global Partner agreement with Liverpool.

The deal is the largest ever sponsorship investment in UK women’s sport and comes less than a year after the league went fully professional in September 2018.

Under the five-year global deal, Oppo will become the first Official Smartphone Partner of The Championships, Wimbledon, as the event is officially known.

US sportswear brand Nike is paying about $7.5m (€6.7m) per year to sponsor China’s League of Legends Pro League (LPL), according to industry sources.