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Hyundai to sponsor PGA Tour event in Los Angeles

Hyundai to sponsor PGA Tour event in Los Angeles
Spectators surround the 18th green during the Northern Trust Open golf tournament at the Riviera Country Club in February. (Robert Gauthier / Los Angeles Times)

Hyundai is the new title sponsor for Los Angeles' PGA Tour event at Riviera Country Club.

The tour and Hyundai Motor of America announced Wednesday that the car company will begin its sponsorship of the tournament in 2017, with nine-year title sponsor Northern Trust shifting to support the FedEx Cup Playoffs event in the New York/New Jersey area.

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Hyundai, with its U.S. headquarters in Fountain Valley, has been the title sponsor for six years of the winners-only Tournament of Champions in Hawaii.

"Considering that Hyundai Motor America is headquartered and heavily invested in the greater Los Angeles area, this is a perfect fit for Hyundai's long-term vision and goals as a tournament sponsor," PGA Tour Commissioner Tim Finchem said in a statement.

"Hyundai is a terrific partner that has actively promoted the Hyundai Tournament of Champions since becoming title sponsor in 2011 and used the event to broaden awareness of its brand and products. We are very excited to continue our relationship with Hyundai and look forward to helping with the transition to Riviera Country Club for 2017."

Said Dave Zuchowski, president and chief executive of Hyundai Motor America, "During the past six years, we've continued to expand our relationship with the game of golf and there is no better tournament for us to be associated with."

In Northern Trust's time in Los Angeles, the tournament was upgraded in numerous ways, including a boost in the purse to the second-largest ($6.8 million) on the West Coast Swing. The tournament's champions over that time have included five-time major winner Phil Mickelson, who won back-to-back in 2008-09, and two-time Masters winner Bubba Watson.

"I would be remiss not to acknowledge the tremendous work Northern Trust has done to help reinvigorate the tournament," Finchem said.

This year's tournament, to be played Feb. 18-21, figures to be the most anticipated in years, with world No. 1 Jordan Spieth and No. 3 Rory McIlroy expected to compete.

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