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Bridgestone extends golf sponsorships

Bridgestone Americas will serve as title sponsor the World Golf Championship Bridgestone Invitational through 2018.

Bridgestone also will continue to serve as the official tire of the PGA Tour and Champions Tour, according to PGA Tour Commissioner Tim Finchem, who represents the International Federation of PGA Tours, and Gary Garfield, CEO and president, Bridgestone Americas.

No financial details were released.

“Golf’s increasing global reach, as well as the international scope of the World Golf Championships align closely with Bridgestone’s long history in the sport and our position as the world’s largest manufacturer of tires and rubber products,” Maasaki Tsuya, CEO, Bridgestone Corp., said in a news release. “This sponsorship will further enhance the power of the Bridgestone brand and continue to provide additional worldwide channels for us to grow.”

Bridgestone began sponsoring the tournament in 2006. Its current agreement expires after the 2014 tournament, which once again will be played at the South course at Firestone Country Club in Akron.

“… Bridgestone represents one of the largest partners within the PGA Tour family,” Finchem said. “They utilize the PGA Tour platform on a global scale, activating in impactful and innovative ways, not only in the U.S. but across Asia and most notably in Japan.

“The Bridgestone Invitational … continues to showcase the very best in professional golf to the world. It also brings tremendous economic and charitable impact to Northeast Ohio, aligning perfectly with Bridgestone’s commitment to the Northeast Ohio community, which has spanned generations and cannot be understated.”

The Bridgestone Invitational donates about $1 million annually to charities throughout northeast Ohio. Bridgestone said professional golf events at Firestone have donated more than $22 million to worthy causes throughout the area, including Ronald McDonald House Charities of Northeastern Ohio, Akron Children’s Hospital, University Hospitals Rainbow Babies & Children’s Hospital and The First Tee Chapters of Akron, Cleveland and Canton.

“Our sponsorship of the Bridgestone Invitational is a tremendous vehicle to promote the Bridgestone brand. It also reconfirms our commitment to the PGA Tour, worldwide golf fans and our Akron-area neighbors,” said Gary Garfield, CEO and president, Bridgestone Americas. “As proud corporate citizens, we are thrilled with the impact the Bridgestone Invitational has in the region.”

The tournament began as the World Series of Golf in 1976, and in 1984 it became the NEC World Series of Golf.

In 1999, the tournament was rechristened the World Golf Championship NEC Invitational.

The tournament has been played in Akron every year since its inception, with the exception of 2002, when it was held at Sahalee Country Club in Sammamish, Wash. Tiger Woods has won the tournament eight times.

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