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Buy.com take over sponsorship of Nike Tour

The PGA Tour announced Monday that Buy.com is taking a major sponsorship position with the Tour.Effective immediately, the professional golf tour previously known as the NIKE Tour, will become the Buy.com Tour.

The Buy.com Tour will debut in 2000 with 30 events playing for approximately $12 million in prize money.

Buy.com, an Aliso Viejo, Calif., corporation, is a leading Internet retailer and e-commerce portal to seven specialty stores that include computers, software, books, videos/DVDs, music, games and clearance products.Buy.com was incorporated in June 1997 and is already among the top e-commerce sites.

"The PGA Tour is very excited about this new relationship with one of the leading companies in the Internet marketplace," said PGA Tour Commissioner Timothy W. Finchem."Buy.com is on the cutting edge of a new wave of commerce, and we see this partnership as a bold new step that will help this Tour expand and develop while providing new e-commerce opportunities for the Tour."

Last weekend's season-ending NIKE Tour Championship in Dothan, AL, where the top 15 players on the final money list earned playing privileges on the PGA Tour for 2000, concluded the Tour's 10th season.

Originally formed in 1990 as the Ben Hogan Tour, the tour became the NIKE Tour with the start of the 1993 season.Nike's original contract with the PGA Tour included the 2000 season, but Nike will now seek to develop new projects under the Tour umbrella.

Designed to produce greater opportunities for aspiring PGA Tour players to develop their skills,Buy.com Tour alumni have produced 70 PGA Tour wins. David Duval, Tom Lehman, Ernie Els, Jim Furyk and Jeff Maggert are among the NIKE Tour alums.A record 18 PGA Tour titles have been won this season by alums of this Tour.

The Buy.com Tour crosses the United States with events held from the state of Washington to Pennsylvania, Florida and South Dakota.Each tournament will have a minimum purse of $350,000 in 2000, a 55.5% increase over 1999.

"It is our desire to see the Buy.com Tour assume a more prominent position in the world golf scene," said Finchem."This new relationship will help carry this Tour to new heights as it continues to not only develop new players for the PGA Tour, but carries golf to new audiences while raising substantial sums for local charities."

"While we are delighted with our new partner, we must also applaud Nike for its seven-year sponsorship of the Tour," added Finchem."They were instrumental in providing the underpinning and support that enabled this Tour to grow to new heights. We're also pleased that Nike will be involved with other PGA Tour programs going forward."

Just like the PGA Tour and Senior PGA Tour, the Buy.com Tour has significant impact on local communities with events raising approximately $16 million for charity since 1990.Overall, PGA Tour, Senior PGA Tour and Buy.com Tour events have raised over $500 million for charity since 1938.

A key provision of the new agreement calls for Buy.com to donate a portion of its golf-related web-sales to the World Golf Foundation's First Tee program. This initiative, which is supported by virtually every leading American golf organization, is designed to provide access to affordable golf to people who otherwise would have none.The program places a special emphasis on reaching children and instilling in them the values inherent to the game of golf.

"Buy.com's interest in sharing our vision for The First Tee program was a vital component of this new agreement," said Finchem."It is our hope that The First Tee will offer children a chance to enjoy this wonderful game while broadening the game?s overall audience."