Oil and energy giant Shell has confirmed that it will end its long-running title sponsorship of the Houston Open following the 2017 edition of the PGA Tour golf event.
Shell has title sponsored the event since 1992 but has informed both the PGA Tour and the Houston Golf Association that next year’s tournament will be its last as a partner.
In a statement reported by the Houston Chronicle newspaper, Shell said the decision “was driven by a combination of economics and a need to realign strategy globally”.
HGA president Steve Timms told the Chronicle: “There’s tough decisions that have to be made. We respect that.
“We know that (the declining oil economy) has an effect locally. Today is the culmination of a lot of people working really hard to try to make it work. You do also kind of get to a point where there’s a decision path that has to be culminated. That’s where we are today.”
Since Shell became title sponsor, the event has raised more than $60m (€53m) for local charities and youth programmes.
PGA Tour commissioner Tim Finchem added: “We greatly appreciate all that Shell has done over the years to support its hometown tournament and the wonderful charitable work of the HGA. We will begin the search for new title sponsor right away and are confident we will be successful in those efforts.”
The 2017 Shell Houston Open will take place from March 27 to April 2 at the Golf Club of Houston. Jim Herman of the US is the defending champion.
The Honda Classic in Palm Beach Gardens, Florida, is the longest running continuous tournament sponsorship on the PGA Tour. The tournament and Honda extended a five-year deal in February. The sponsorship will continue through at least 2021 having been in place since 1982.