Air Capital Classic deadline passes with future unsettled

The future of Wichita’s premier professional golf tournament remained unresolved Tuesday, but the effort to keep it going will extend past a date its director had targeted.

Air Capital Classic tournament director Roy Turner continued to meet with prospects for the Air Capital Ambassadors, a community-based sponsorship program designed earlier this year to provide financial support for the tournament.

From 2002-12, Preferred Health Systems served as the Tour event’s title sponsor, funneling more than $4 million over that time to the tournament and its charities. The Ambassador program features $15,000 and $30,000 annual sponsorship options, and Turner has sought a group of local investors to make a two-year minimum commitment.

Last month, Turner said he had received more than $200,000 in pledged support for the Ambassador program, with approximately $70,000 more needed to ensure the tournament – started in 1990 and played since 2001 at Crestview Country Club – would observe its 25th year. Turner did not reveal Tuesday how much was still needed.

“The community response has been fantastic,” Turner said. “We’re at a point where I expect to have all things in order in the next 30 days.”

In a Sept. 9 email to Air Capital Charities, Inc. board members, Turner wrote, “Please do not be under the impression that our future is stable or we have time beyond October 1st to make it that.” But the Tour has not announced its 2014 schedule, and does not have a specific date for doing so. That has provided tournament officials with additional time to solicit sponsors and sign contracts for one of four remaining original stops on the PGA Tour’s developmental circuit.