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Golfweek: PGA event courts Bass Pro as title sponsor

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The Legends of Golf PGA Tour event organizers are in talks to sign Springfield-based Bass Pro Shops as title sponsor, a deal that could move the annual tournament to Branson.

A senior PGA Tour market development officer confirmed to the Springfield-based outdoor retailer is seriously considering sponsorship rights of the popular two-man team event, which has been a staple of the PGA Champions Tour. PGA Senior Vice President Ric Clarson indicated a sponsorship agreement also could bring the tournament to Branson Creek Golf Club, which Bass Pro owner Johnny Morris purchased in November.

When contacted yesterday by Springfield Business Journal, Bass Pro Shops spokeswoman Tammy Sapp said the company had no information regarding the sponsorship.

The Legends of Golf sponsorship has been up for grabs since November, when Liberty Mutual announced it was not renewing its agreement, effectively terminating a relationship with the tournament that dated back to 1978. If a deal is reached, sources told Golfweek the Legends tournament could be held in Branson the first week of June.

Morris owns three courses in Branson, through his Big Cedar Lodge resort, after acquiring Branson Creek and Murder Rock Golf and Country Club within weeks of each other last year. Big Cedar manages the nine-hole Top of the Rock golf course adjacent to the resort, but it has been closed for renovations since 2005.

Branson Creek is No. 2 on Golfweek's Best Courses You Can Play list, and Murder Rock is No. 4.

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