By petedirenzo
Sunday, August 09, 2009

AKRON, Ohio — Good economic news for the PGA Tour here Sunday: Bridgestone has agreed to a four-year extension that will keep the World Golf Championship event at Firestone Country Club through 2014.PGA Tour commissioner Tim Finchem said the purse levels are decided each year and for that reason couldn’t say how the new agreement would affect future prize money for the event, but cautioned that purses are not going to grow as rapidly in the next three-to-five years as they have in the recent successful past, although he still expects them to grow in the long term.“The happiest person about today’s announcement is probably Tiger Woods,” Finchem joked. “He wins 60 to 70 percent of the time he plays here.”The Bridgestone announcement comes on the heels of Buick dropping sponsorship of two events, the Buick Open in Flint, Mich., and the Buick Invitational at Torrey Pines. It also follows the positive economic news of the Greenbrier Resort stepping in to sponsor a tournament to fill the date vacated by the Buick Open.“For Bridgestone to make this commitment in a down economy says a lot about the PGA Tour,” Finchem said. “The value is out there. We seem now to be on a solid trend.”

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