BILOXI, MS (WLOX) - Even before Miguel Angel Jiminez rolled in the tournament victory clinching putt on Sunday, the effort to find a title sponsor for the Mississippi Gulf Resort Classic was well under way.
"We need a title sponsor," said Tournament Chairman of the Board Frank Bertucci.
Without a title sponsor, the tournament's future is in jeopardy. Bertucci said Fallen Oak hosted four title sponsor prospects during the tournament that attracted more than 30,000 spectators over the three days of competition.
"There's no better time to sell this tournament than when it's going on."
According to Bertucci, the interested groups included a mix of local, regional and international prospects. A major selling point for those prospects is the opportunity to be involved in charity. Bertucci said he expects the tournament's Birdies For Charities program to hand out $300,000 - $400,000 this year to South Mississippi charities.
"When you get that title sponsor that gifting could get into the millions of dollars and that's what our goal is and that's what are hopes are in securing a title sponsor."
As the search for a title sponsor kicks into high gear, Bertucci says the presenting sponsor in years past, C-Spire, will still be a part of the tournament moving forward.
"They extended the life of this tournament and they still are a very major sponsor of this golf tournament."
The president of the PGA Champions Tour met with the title sponsor prospects over the weekend at Fallen Oak. Bertucci said the tour is committed to keeping one of its 26 events in South Mississippi. He remains confident the tournament will be able to continue because it's an easy event sell.
"This isn't a startup tournament. This is a well established tournament for eight years and they're stepping in to a really nice situation that has been built on for eight years."
Bertucci added that there is no hard date that a title sponsor has to be acquired by, but it needs to happen sooner than later so planning for next year's event can move forward.