AKRON, Ohio -- This could be the final year for Akron’s Bridgestone Invitational.
“Being told that Akron—Firestone—will get PGA Senior Players in 2018 after Bridgestone pulls out following this year’s tournament,” Golf Channel contributor John Feinstein tweeted.
Reports surfaced last year that Akron may lose the annual golf tournament at Firestone Country Club.
The 2018 Bridgestone Invitational will mark its 65th year at Firestone Country Club. But reports of its departure appears to be closing in.
Richard Rebadow, executive vice president of the the Greater Akron Chamber of Commerce, is no stranger to witnessing the golf tournament’s impact on the region. He said the tournament’s economic impact on the region is between $24 million to $30 million each year.
Dozens of local foundations receiving thousands of dollars through the Northern Ohio Golf Charities. Bridgestone’s possible departure could mean a challenge to raise those dollars elsewhere.
While its future remains unknown – at least officially -- Rebadow touted the regions success handling the tournament for decades.
The value that we have is that we’re a proven commodity.
Rebadow said his team and city leaders are still in the fairway – and going for the green.
“We like a challenge,” Rebadow said. “We’re not happy about it, but we certainly won’t back down from the challenge.”
WKYC received the following statement from Bridgestone Invitational executive director Don Padgett III:
"“We’re making great progress in our conversations about the future of professional golf in Akron and at Firestone Country Club. Our focus today is preparing for August, when we will host another crowd-pleasing World Golf Championships-Bridgestone Invitational. We anticipate having related news to share with the community in the coming months.”