FedEx returns as St. Jude Classic sponsor

By Adrian Sainz/The Associated Press

MEMPHIS — FedEx is returning as the title sponsor for the 2011 St. Jude Classic in Memphis and a multi-year sponsorship commitment is in the works, the PGA Tour said Thursday.

Next year’s event will be called the FedEx St. Jude Classic and is scheduled for June 6-12 at TPC Southwind, according to the 2011 schedule released by the PGA Tour.

“We continue to focus on a multi-year commitment to assure the tournament’s future success in Memphis,” PGA Tour Commissioner Tim Finchem said in a statement.

Memphis-based FedEx served as the title sponsor for the tournament for 21 years, until 2006.

Stanford Financial Group served as title sponsor after FedEx, until the reference to Stanford was dropped in 2009 due to a federal fraud investigation of the company.

Smith & Nephew, a global medical technology company, stepped in this year as a presenting sponsor for the PGA Tour’s third-longest running event, dating back to 1958.

The event benefits St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital, also based in Memphis. The tournament has raised nearly $25 million for the world-renowned hospital since 1970, when St. Jude became the tournament’s sole beneficiary.

“FedEx is proud to support the groundbreaking research being done at St. Jude which impacts the local community and the 30,000 FedEx employees based in Memphis as well as thousands of children and families across the globe,” said T. Michael Glenn, FedEx’s executive vice president of market development.

Tournament director Phil Cannon said the partnership is a “win-win for everybody” and that the sponsorship is in the “mid-seven figures.” He said the tournament would still have been searching for sponsorship dollars to help cover the local share of the purse were it not for FedEx.

“Anytime a tournament is without a title sponsor, it’s going to be nervous,” Cannon said.

FedEx, the world’s second-largest package delivery company, also sponsors the FedExCup, which is given every year to the PGA Tour’s champion.

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AP Golf Writer Doug Ferguson in Thousand Oaks, Calif., contributed to this report