Champions Tour to visit area through '07 after Constellation extends sponsorship

Golf

February 24, 2004|By Kevin Van Valkenburg | Kevin Van Valkenburg,SUN STAFF

The Constellation Energy Group announced yesterday that it will continue to sponsor a Champions Tour golf tournament in the Baltimore area through 2007, extending its existing two-year agreement.

Baltimore has been a stop for the Champions Tour, formerly the Senior PGA Tour, since 1998, but in 2001, State Farm Insurance chose to terminate its role as the tournament's title sponsor.

Questions arose as to whether the Champions Tour would return the following year, but in 2002, Constellation Energy, a Fortune 500 company headquartered in Baltimore, signed a two-year agreement through 2004, keeping the tournament in the area.

This year's event, which starts Sept. 27 and runs through Oct. 3, will be held at Hayfields Country Club in Hunt Valley for the third consecutive year.

The Baltimore Classic Fund - a non-profit organization that oversees the tournament and is chaired by Constellation Energy CEO and president Mayo A. Shattuck III - donated $300,000 to three Maryland-based charities last year as a result of the tournament.

This year, in addition to the Chesapeake Bay Foundation, the Kennedy Krieger Institute and the Living Classrooms Foundation, the tournament has added a fourth charity, the Robert Packard Center for ALS Research at the Johns Hopkins University.

A major reason for the fourth charity was the much-publicized battle being waged by Bruce Edwards, longtime caddie and friend of five-time British Open champion Tom Watson. Edwards has been battling amyotrophic lateral sclerosis, a neurological disorder more commonly known as Lou Gehrig's Disease, for more than a year, but has continued to caddie for Watson.

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