What’s in a name? Over the years, there have been several tongue-twisters and strange sponsorships at PGA Tour events. This week is one of the classics: the Shriners Hospitals for Children Open. But was it bad enough to make it on the list of worst names in the history of the Tour? One thing we know for sure, combining an entertainer with a sponsor is a sure-fire way to end up on this list.
1) Jackie Gleason Inverrary-National Airlines Classic
Current event: Honda Classic.
We start with an event named after a comedian/actor, the host course and an airline. That was enough to earn the top spot on the list. The tournament started in 1972 and was won by Tom Weiskopf. It was simply the Jackie Gleason’s Inverrary Classic then, but the following year, National Airlines was brought on as a sponsor. Luckily, it was one year only. Lee Trevino was the champ, and the following year, National Airlines was dropped as a sponsor. Honda Classic has a much more succinct ring to it.
2) Canon Sammy Davis Jr. Greater Hartford Open
Current event: Travelers Championship
This event started in 1952 as the Insurance City Open. A few decades later, entertainer Sammy Davis Jr. came along as a sponsor, and a few years later, Canon was added on as well. So for four sweet years, we had the “Canon Sammy Davis Jr. Greater Hartford Open.” And there was excitement each tournament! In those four events, there were three playoffs and a one-stroke victory. Still an awful name though.
3) Walt Disney World/Oldsmobile Classic
Current event: N/A
Any event that has a slash in the name has to be included on this list. The World Disney World Classic started in 1982, but brought on Oldsmobile as a sponsor in 1985. What to do? The only answer was to bring out the slash. This event was big-time though. Tiger Woods won in 1996, and David Duval, Lanny Wadkins and Ray Floyd all claimed victories too. The name is the only loser here.
4) Shearson Lehman Brothers Andy Williams Open
Current event: Farmers Insurance Open
This name only lasted two years, but my, is it a good one. The singer-actor Andy Williams was the tourney’s host for a long time with rotating sponsors. Izuzu and Wickes made for interesting combos, but it was the Shearson Lehman Brothers Andy Williams Open that takes the cake. This event would turn into the Buick Open that Woods dominated and is currently called the Farmers Insurance Open.
5) Justin Timberlake Shriners Hospitals for Children Open
Current event: Shriners Hospitals for Children Open
In keeping with the theme, adding Justin Timberlake to an already long sponsor is a combination that invites disaster. Justin Timberlake was the title sponsor of this Vegas event for five years from 2008-12. It doesn’t quite roll off the tongue, does it? And if Justin Timberlake can’t make an event sound cool, then all hope is lost.