Omaha has a spot available on next year’s Web.com Tour, but there are some big ifs that officials of the pro golf circuit hope they can resolve soon.
If a golf course can be found. If a title sponsor can be found. If a new host organization can be found.
Doing the searching are Web.com Tour President Bill Calfee and Tim Benton, another Web.com Tour executive. They flew to Omaha on Wednesday for meetings to fill all three needs.
“We’d like to be able to come back in a month with a big announcement,’’ Calfee said.
Omaha has been one of the most successful stops on the tour, the developmental circuit for the PGA Tour. This year’s Cox Classic at Champions Run had a record purse of $800,000, was shown live on the Golf Channel and was placed in an advantageous position on the tour schedule. The first 25 players to qualify for the 2013-14 PGA Tour were determined by their play in Omaha.
But the tour did not renew its contract with the Omaha Community Service Foundation, which was formed in 1996 to run the then-named Omaha Classic. Expired, too, are the contracts with Cox Communications as title sponsor and Champions Run.
An Omaha event will not return in 2014 to Champions Run.
“Bob Horgan and Champions Run have been good partners,’’ Calfee said. “We understand Bob wants to take some time off, but he’s left the door open” to bring the tournament back in the future or join a rotation of host courses.
Calfee said he and Benton will talk to the management of “three or four” courses that could replace Champions Run.
They also will meet with Cox officials, who they said want to remain a sponsor on some level.
“They’ve supported the changes being made,’’ Calfee said.
As for changing host organizations, he said the tour appreciates the contributions over the years of the Omaha Community Service Foundation, but recently “the relationship was not going in the way we felt was best for the tour.”
Gary Grote, who has been the Cox Classic board president, could not be reached for comment Wednesday night.
The tour has hired Bruno Event Team to operate an Omaha tournament. Officials of the Alabama-based sports management firm were to arrive Wednesday night to join in the tour’s meetings. Bruno ran the U.S. Senior Open in July at Omaha Country Club.
In the past six weeks, Calfee said, tour officials have had many conversations with sponsors from the Cox Classic and potential sponsors. Talks are also continuing with a potential host organization.
Next year’s tournament likely would remain in August. In part, Calfee said, that’s to give the Web.com Tour more time to relaunch in Omaha.
“We knew we were going to a new course, so we said let’s restart,’’ he said. “We hope we’re here for a long time.”