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Northern Trust to sponsor Riviera event for last time

Northern Trust to sponsor Riviera event for last time
Bubba Watson tees off on the ninth hole during the 2014 Northern Trust Open at the Riviera Country Club on Feb. 16, 2014. (Luis Sinco / Los Angeles Times)

Northern Trust will stage its final PGA Tour tournament next month as the title sponsor for the Los Angeles event at Riviera Country Club, but the vacancy won't last long.

PGA Tour Executive Vice President Ty Votaw said Tuesday that a new sponsor will be announced in a "relatively short time frame."

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"We want to make sure that the Los Angeles market understands that the event is on solid footing for the long-term future," Votaw said in a phone interview.

The Associated Press reported that Hyundai Motor America is in talks to become the title sponsor for the tournament, which has been played in L.A. since 1926. Votaw said he could not confirm that report.

With its U.S. headquarters in Fountain Valley, Hyundai just completed a one-year deal to sponsor the Tournament of Champions in Maui, which serves as the start of the tour's calendar year.

The tour and Northern Trust announced Tuesday that the Chicago-based global bank has agreed to a five-year title sponsorship deal for the FedEx Cup Playoffs opener that is held each year in the New York-New Jersey area. Barclays has been that event's sponsor, and starting in 2017 the tournament will be called the Northern Trust.

Northern Trust took over as Riviera's title sponsor in 2008 after Nissan served that role for 21 years.

This year's total prize money of $6.8 million is the second-largest on the West Coast swing, behind only the AT&T Pebble Beach National Pro-Am at $7 million. The tour also took over the management of the tournament, whose official charity is the City of Hope. In 2015, the tournament generated more than $2 million in charity for the first time in its history.

Among the unique aspects of the event: an exemption given to the top golfer who represents the advancement of diversity in golf, and the Collegiate Showcase on the Monday of tournament week that features tour pros playing alongside top college golfers.

The tournament has been held 53 times at Riviera, one of the most revered and historic golf courses in the country.

Phil Mickelson opened the Northern Trust era with back-to-back wins in 2008-09, though he has not played in L.A. since 2013.

This year's event, Feb. 18-21, will feature top-ranked Jordan Spieth and No. 3 Rory McIlroy, who will make his Riviera debut. James Hahn is the defending champion.

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