RTO has new heart with Barracuda

RENO — The Reno-Tahoe Open is no more. For at least the next four years, beginning with this year’s tournament, the event will be known as the Barracuda Championship.

Now in its 16th year, the tournament finally has a long-term title sponsor it has so long desired. The tournament and Barracuda Networks have entered an agreement in which Barracuda will be the title sponsor of the event held at Montreux Golf and Country Club over the next four years. The announcement was made on Wednesday at Reno City Hall.

So when PGA golfers come to the area for the tournament to be held from July 31 through Aug. 3, they will be competing for the Barracuda Championship title.

Barracuda is a Bay Area-based company specializing in protecting data from hackers. Tournament director Chris Hoff said PGA Tour policy prevented him from disclosing how much money Barracuda was providing in its sponsorship, but he did say, “the investment is significant and it’s for the next four years.”

As far as increasing this year’s $3 million purse for 2015 and beyond, Hoff said, “it’s been discussed.” Hoff said the partnership with Barracuda has been 15 months in the making, noting Barracuda staff played in last year’s RTO pro-am event.

Hoff said the PGA Tour played a huge role in securing Barracuda as the title sponsor. He also said there will be an effort for a standalone time to be secured for the Reno event, so it would be the only PGA event held during that week.

This year’s Reno event is again being held on the same week as the World Golf Championship-Bridgestone Invitational, which is considered the more prestigious of the two tournaments.

But Hoff noted the John Deere Classic is the only PGA event this week and only four players who are playing this week would not be able to play in the Reno event. And Hoff noted the field for this year’s Reno event is strong with players such as John Daly, three-time major champion Padraig Harrington and Paul Casey, once ranked in the top five in the world, committed to play in the tournament. The world’s top-ranked amateur, Patrick Rodgers, who recently finished his career at Stanford, will also play in the Reno event.

“I’m thrilled with the field we have so far,” Hoff said.

Along with the announcement of Barracuda as the title sponsorship, several other announcements were made on Wednesday. The event will again offer a heroes hangout on the ninth hole and with he help of Nature’s Bakery, the tent will be open to first responders such as law enforcement, firefighters and emergency medical technicians along with active military, National Guard and reserve personnel and veterans. The fifth annual Patriots’ Luncheon which benefits the Veterans Guest House will be held at the Reno Air National Guard Base on July 29.

In addition, Hoff said there are plans for Barracuda to sponsor the 18th hole for the golfer who scores the most points on the hole, with his winnings going to charity. The word renegade was used to describe both the area and Barracuda and with the Reno event being the only PGA tournament which uses the Stableford scoring format, Hoff said that was a major factor in Barracuda sponsoring the event.


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