Eagle editorial: Secure golf tournament’s future

The Air Capital Classic is a class act that enriches Wichita’s quality of life and economy and deserves to extend its long, successful run. Now, sponsors should step forward to help secure that future.

Tournament director Roy Turner and board co-chairman Jack Pelton are meeting with business and community leaders about an ambassador program aimed at diversifying financial and charitable support for the weeklong event, which is on the Web.com Tour and one of four tournaments that have existed throughout the 24-year history of the PGA Tour’s developmental circuit.

The plan to seek $15,000 and $30,000 annual contributions seems a smart approach in the wake of Preferred Health Systems’ 12-year, $4 million title sponsorship, which ended in 2012. As a network of “ambassadors” broadens the base of financial support for the tournament, it should increase the number of groups and individuals engaged in ensuring its success.

If being associated with the nationally recognized Air Capital Classic’s high level of play isn’t enough incentive for business sponsors, there is also the lure of the Crestview Country Club’s 17th hole and its hospitality chalets, which have become places to network as well as to see and be seen during the tournament. Officials also are discussing higher pro-am and other fees.

“What the tour wants, and what a lot of people in this town want, is to keep it going and keep making it better,” Turner said.

A strong showing of business and other community support can second that sentiment. And when the 2014 Web.com Tour schedule comes out this fall, Wichita’s 25th-anniversary Air Capital Classic needs to be on it.

For the editorial board, Rhonda Holman