AKRON, Ohio - The future of Akron's Bridgestone Invitational is in doubt beyond 2018 as the PGA considers future options.
In a statement Don Padgett, the executive director of the Bridgestone Invitational, said conversations about the future after 2018 are continuing and no decisions have been finalized.
"None of these discussions impact the 2018 Bridgestone Invitational, which will mark the 65th anniversary of professional golf at Firestone Country Club. We look forward to hosting a great tournament this summer," Padgett said.
Crain's Cleveland Business reported that John Feinstein, an author and contributor to the Golf Channel and PGA Tour Radio, believes 2018 could be the last hurrah for the tournament in Akron.
According to the publication, several tournament scheduling changes could impact the future of the Bridgestone Invitational and Bridgestone's sponsorship of the WGG event expires after the 2018 tournament.
Akron Mayor Dan Horrigan said the event brings 30,000 visitors to Akron and generates hundreds of jobs and tens of millions of dollars in economic activity for local restaurants, hotels and businesses.
Horrigan added the tournament also raises more than one million dollars in charitable support for organizations like Akron Children's Hospital and the LeBron James Family Foundation.
"However, this event is about more than its financial impact," Horrigan said. "Hosting the Bridgestone Invitational is a point of pride for the Akron community. Watching the world's best golfers compete in this championship on our home turf is a personal privilege for me, both as mayor and a lifelong fan of the game."
The mayor said the city will work the local business community, partners at the PGA, and tournament stakeholders to "do all we can" to ensure Akron and Firestone Country Club remains the home of the premiere event for years to come.