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New four year deal for Reno-Tahoe event

The Reno-Tahoe Open reached a four-year agreement with the PGA Tour on Friday to continue the tournament in late August through 2006 with an option to seek other dates.

"We now have signed a deal, a four-year agreement,'' said Jim Kline, director of the fledgling tournament that competes on the same weekend as the World Golf Championships.

"If a new date becomes available, we have a right to bid on that date but we would have to have the financials in place ahead of time,'' he told The Associated Press.

The PGA Tour included the Aug. 21-24 event on the formal 2003 schedule it released last month. But local officials had said the tournament might not continue if the tour was unwilling to continue to supply the $3 million purse, as it had the first four years. "The incentives are pretty much built in now that we will need to get a title sponsor. But they said they will cover the purse money that is usually covered by the title sponsor until we get a title. They will carry us through in the meantime,'' Kline said.

Dave Lancer, the PGA Tour's director of information, said the tour does not discuss financial details, but the "tournament is on our schedule and is going to be played as scheduled.''

"We subsidize all tournaments to some extent with the purse. Tournaments that are opposite other tournaments, like Reno, we give a greater subsidy to,'' Lancer said from Ponte Vedra Beach, Fla.

Montreux Golf & Country Club on Reno's southwest side hosts the 72-hole tournament on the Jack Nicklaus-designed course that winds through towering pines and mountain streams in the shadow of the Sierra.

Notah Begay III won the inaugural Reno-Tahoe Open in 1999 -- the first PGA event in town since Ben Hogan won the Reno Open Invitational in 1948.

Scott Verplank won in 2000, followed by John Cook and last year former UNLV star Chris Riley.

Kline said tournament organizers continue their search for a title sponsor and have leads on two prospects.

"I would love to be able to tell the tour you don't have to treat us like babies anymore and we can stand on our own two feet,'' he said.

But he said he's learned to temper his enthusiasm.

"I've been told so many times we thought we had one. It's kind of like asking a girl for a date. You're reluctant to do it anymore after you've been told `No' so many times,'' he said.

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