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Big Cedar Lodge will not host Legends of Golf in 2020 after the end of a five-year sponsorship.
Photo courtesy Big Cedar Lodge
Big Cedar Lodge will not host Legends of Golf in 2020 after the end of a five-year sponsorship.

Elmquist out as Bass Pro ends Legends of Golf sponsorship

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Bass Pro Shops did not renew its sponsorship of the PGA Tour’s Legends of Golf circuit, leaving local businessman Kirk Elmquist out of a job.

Bass Pro in 2014 penned a five-year sponsorship of the tournament, which has been held at Big Cedar Lodge and brought much fanfare to the Ozarks. Celebrities such as actors Justin Timberlake and Mark Wahlberg have appeared at the Ridgedale tournament outside Branson.

Jack Wlezien, director of communications for Bass Pro, said the decision was made not to renew the sponsorship in May following this year’s tournament in April.

“With 2020 ahead, it’s going to be a transformational year for Big Cedar Lodge,” he said, pointing to the planned opening of Tiger Woods’ Payne’s Valley golf course. “It seemed like the right time for us to think bigger.”

Wlezien said Elmquist, who led the event as its tournament director since inception, was let go as his position was eliminated.

“Since we’re not having a tournament, there wasn’t a need for a tournament director,” Wlezien said. “We’re certainly grateful to him.”

Reached this morning, Elmquist said he doesn’t have any leads on the next step in his career, which has included stints with the company formerly known as Morelock-Ross Builders Inc., the Springfield Cardinals, and Millwood Golf and Racquet Club.

It’s unclear where the Legends tour will be held moving forward. Before Branson, it was Savannah, Georgia.

Reached by email, PGA Tour Champions President Miller Brady said he wishes Bass Pro founder Johnny Morris “all the best going forward.”

“It was great for our tour to use golf as an avenue to provide added exposure for the Branson community and surrounding areas,” he said via email.

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