HOUSTON (FOX 26) - Houston Mayor Sylvester Turner is thrilled that Houston Astros owner Jim Crane is making a serious effort to land a title sponsor for the Houston Open Golf Tournament.
The Houston Open must land a title sponsor soon to maintain the tournament’s status on the PGA Tour.
“I want to thank him,” Mayor Turner said in an interview with FOX 26 Sports. “Jim, I thank you for your participation, and I know he’s very capable, he and his wife, when they put their minds to it, they can make things happen.
“He’s visited with me about this on several occasions. So I welcome his participation. He’s one of our outstanding Houstonians. He’s very proud of this city and he wants to be very helpful, and I know he can be helpful.
“I think it’s always good to have key individuals in our city like Jim Crane getting involved. Look, he’s the owner of the Houston Astros, a championship team.”
The tournament has been without a title sponsor since Shell chose not to extend its contract with the Houston Golf Association following the 2017 event.
The HGA began hosting the Houston Open in 1946.
In separate interviews last week with FOX 26 Sports and the Houston Chronicle, Crane said he is in the process of trying to land a sponsor to save the tournament, and run the event if he is successful.
The HGA is also trying to land a title sponsor, which would maintain its hold on the golf tournament.
Crane said last week the PGA Tour would like to see the situation resolved by June, and by July at the latest if a deal is imminent.
Mayor Turner is confident that deadline can be met.
“It will happen,” Mayor Turner said. “Let me just step out and say to you, it’s going to happen. The Houston Open continuing to be a part of the PGA (Tour) is vitally important. We just can’t miss out.
“The next 30 to 45 days are critical. We have to find a title sponsor or sponsors, doesn’t necessarily have to be one. We need to make something happen over the next 30-to-45 days. That’s a critical time period.”
Crane said he would like to see the tournament, which does not have a location yet for 2019, eventually moved to Memorial Park.
The Houston Golf Association has similar goals.
“I support that,” Mayor Turner said. “I think it would be just ideal.”
Mayor Turner believes Crane and the Houston Golf Association can eventually work together.
Crane said last week if he is successful he did not want to exclude the HGA.
“Yeah, absolutely,” Mayor Turner said. “Houstonians, we come together for the greater good of the city. So they can. If we work together, play together, we win. That’s what the Astros demonstrated when they played together, they won. The same thing for the Houston Rockets. As they play together, they win. The same thing applies to the rest of us, Jim Crane, HGA, others in the city of Houston, when we work together we win.
“There is no question we will find a title sponsor or sponsors for the Houston Open.”
Mayor Turner says the sponsorship of the golf tournament will cost about $12 million.
“This is the fourth largest city (in the nation), soon to be the third,” Mayor Turner said. “We’ve had that PGA tournament here for years and years and years.
“You mean to tell me we don’t have companies or individuals who will step up in the city of Houston to be a title sponsor. It’s about $12 million to be a title sponsor.
“So I welcome Jim Crane’s involvement.”
Crane said last week his only goal is to save the Houston Open.
“With my team and the Astros foundation getting behind this and our credibility, I think we can partner with somebody to get it done,” Crane said last week.
“I’m not running this to make a nickel. This would all go back into charity and go back into the city.”
Steve Timms, president and CEO of the Houston Golf Association, said last week the HGA welcomes any assistance it can get from the community to “continue the good work we’re doing through golf in Houston.”
The Houston Golf Association has raised more than $70 million for local charities.
“I know Steve is working very, very hard,” Mayor Turner said. “I want to give a lot of credit to the HGA for what they have done and what they continue to do, but it’s going to require all of us. I’m very optimistic, over the next 30 to 45 days something will materialize.”