The PGA Tour has announced that the season’s final World Golf Championship is going down to Memphis starting in 2019. The WGC-Bridgestone Invitational, which has been held in Akron, Ohio since its inception in 1999 (although NEC was the sponsor until 2006), will be renamed the WGC-FedEx St. Jude Invitational.
TPC Southwind, the current host of the FedEx St. Jude Classic, will serve as new host of the WGC.
The change means one last stop at Firestone Country Club for the PGA Tour in 2018. The course has played host to 19 iterations of the event, eight of which were won by Tiger Woods. Beyond Woods, Dustin Johnson, Rory McIlroy, Hideki Matsuyama and Adam Scott have won in Akron.
The Bridgestone Senior Players tournament is moving to Firestone in 2019 and will be held from July 8-14. That contract runs through 2022.
Bridgestone’s CEO cited the cost of sponsorship as the reason the company could no longer sponsor the event. PGA Tour commissioner Jay Monahan declared that without Bridgestone, little could be done to keep the tournament in Northeast Ohio.
“We had a great run here at Firestone Country Club with the PGA Tour and a World Golf Championship,” Monahan said. “One of the primary reasons it’s been a success is because of an exceptional golf course. But continuing to play here was not a reality.”
The loss of the FedEx St. Jude Classic means a void in the PGA Tour schedule the week before the U.S. Open. Filling that gap in the schedule will come along with several major scheduling changes in 2019, including moving the Players Championship to March and the PGA Championship to May.
FedEx is also the sponsor of the PGA Tour’s season-long points race, the FedEx Cup.