Kodak has announced that it has renewed its partnership with the PGA Tour thru 2016, but is dropping sponsorship of its Kodak Challenge effective immediately.  I’m sure you’re either asking yourself- the Kodak Challenge, uh what is that?  Is that some sort of picture contest or something?  Or you’re thinking, who cares.  I’d have to say in either case that unfortunately I agree.

The Kodak Challenge was created and instituted on the PGA Tour in 2009 as a season long chance at $1 million.  Basically how it worked was that the folks at Kodak would pick a signature hole at each PGA Tour event throughout the season, and players would use their lowest score of the 4 rounds on that hole (or just for 2 rounds if they missed the cut) for a cumulative best ball over the course of the entire PGA Tour season.  If you birdied the 18th hole at Kapalua Plantation at the Hyundai Tournament of Champions you were -1, if you birdied the signature hole the next week at the Sony Open you were 2-under for the year, etc.

Sounds like a good idea in theory, but truth is that it was just another random stat/event that nobody paid attention to.  Half the players didn’t even know what the event was until the end of the season when they were randomly in contention (including Rickie Fowler) for the title, and the public certainly never grasped onto it.

Yahoo Devil Golf Blog made a blog post today of it being a, “Somber Goodbye to the Kodak Challenge.”  In order for a farewell to be somber, I would think that it would first need to be liked or known.  Usually we love their stuff, but safe to say that was quite the overstatement there Shane Bacon.

Now more than ever, the Tour needs to be wiser with its sponsorship dollars.  Hopefully Finchem and company will think through things a little better to find a better allocation of dollars the next time something like this presents itself.  For now, congratulations to Kevin Streelman, Troy Merritt and Bill Lunde (’09, ’10 and ’11 winners of the Kodak Challenge) for being the world’s most random millionaires.

Joel Harrington