SEATTLE (AP) The Champions Tour and Boeing Co. announced Monday a four-year contract extension that will keep the Boeing Classic and professional golf in the Seattle area through 2012.
Boeing's sponsorship of the event was set to expire after this year's tournament.
``We were comfortable that the relationship between Boeing and the tour was strong from the very first day. Boeing had expressed to us that (the tournament) satisfied their desires to be active in the community ... and we worked pretty hard to make sure the event was a success to them,'' tournament director Chuck Nelson said. ``Certainly, all parties wanted it to happen.''
With the new contract comes increased prize money for the players, who, along with the community, have warmly received the event, now entering its fourth year. This year's purse will be $1.7 million, up from $1.6 million last year. The purse will increase each year until it reaches more than $2 million in the final year of the contract in 2012.
The event will remain at the TPC at Snoqualmie Ridge, a Jack Nicklaus-designed course that opened in 1999. The tournament's contract with Snoqualmie Ridge - about 30 miles east of downtown Seattle - runs through the 2009 event.
After hosting the 1998 PGA Championship and 2002 World Golf Championship NEC Invitational, the Seattle market was void of professional golf until the Champions Tour event arrived in 2005.
``From June of '05 when we announced Boeing as the title sponsor, there was hope this would go on,'' Nelson said.
The tournament intends to retain its late August date on the tour's schedule, tucking nicely behind The Tradition in Central Oregon - one of the majors on the Champions Tour - as part of a three-stop West Coast swing that includes Pebble Beach, Calif.