Thursday, July 23, 2009

A banker comes to golf's defense

It's nice to see Seth Waugh, the CEO of Deutsche Bank Americas, standing up for the value of his company's investment in the PGA Tour event it hosts.

Golf has become a dirty word in some circles these days but Waugh defended spending company money on a golf tournament.

"You can think of the golf tournament as a silly little thing in terms of what's going on in the world but these are the bricks that can build the economy back up. Nobody in the world is going to want to take $70 million less."

Waugh was referring to studies citing the economic impact of the Deutsche Bank Championship at between $40 and $70 million annually. He was speaking to Boston business and charity leaders on Wednesday, according to The Associated Press.

Last year, the Deutsche Bank Championship donated $3.5 million to charity.

There has been no word from Wells Fargo or Quail Hollow Championship officials about any potential change in the terms of their agreement for the PGA Tour event held here each May. Wells Fargo officials have maintained they intend to honor the terms of the contract they inherited in their purchase of Wachovia, which covers the tournament through 2014.

While the furor over financial institutions, particularly those that received federal bailout money, has subsided to some degree, it's still a tender subject.

A high-ranking official from a prominent resort recently told me that no company wants to be associated with the words golf or spa when it comes to business travel or entertaining, at least not right now.

There are modest signs of improvement, the executive said, but the impact has still been immense on the hospitality industry, which in turn impacts restaurant and hotel workers, course operators and many others.