International to cancel its tournament
PEBBLE BEACH, Calif. ” The International, known for its unique scoring system on a Castle Pines golf course held in the mile-high air outside Denver, will no longer be on the PGA Tour schedule effective immediately, a tour official said Wednesday.
The absence of a corporate sponsor was mostly responsible for canceling the 21-year-old tournament, said the official, who spoke on condition of anonymity because the decision had not formally been announced.
PGA Tour commissioner Tim Finchem and tournament founder Jack Vickers were expected to make it official Thursday morning. They spent the last two weeks in a final effort to find a sponsor, then agreed to end it now.
International spokeswoman Joanna Busack said Vickers would not comment until Thursday.
The cancellation leaves a hole in the PGA Tour schedule on July 5-8, but tour officials have been working on a contingency plan over the last month and are expected to announce a replacement by April.
The leading candidate is Washington, the largest U.S. market without a PGA Tour event. The nation’s capital had a tour event since 1968, but that presumably ended when title sponsor Booz Allen bailed out last year because it was not part of the FedExCup portion of the PGA Tour schedule.
Other markets under consideration are Minneapolis, Philadelphia and Kansas City.
The tour official said there was sponsorship interest in several major markets, although none of those sponsors was interested in the International.
The International began in 1986 and used a modified Stableford scoring system,
rewarding points for eagles and birdies and deducting points for bogeys or worse. It promoted aggressive play and featured some dramatic finishes, along with a roll call of champions that included Ernie Els, Vijay Singh and Phil Mickelson.
Dean Wilson won last year in a playoff over Ryder Cup captain Tom Lehman.
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