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Astros owner Jim Crane makes major league save of Houston Open golf tournament

Astros owner Jim Crane makes major league save of Houston Open

Jim Crane publicity pic
Crane (right) announced that his Astros Foundation is taking over the Houston Open.  Photo by Alex Bierens de Haan

Houston’s most iconic golf tournament has a new benefactor, thanks to a major league move by Astros owner Jim Crane.

Crane’s Astros Foundation announced on June 12 that it has a five-year agreement with the PGA Tour to run the Houston Open starting in the fall of 2019. The date of the tournament was not announced. The prize money will be $7.5 million.

The Astros Foundation — the team charity of the Houston Astros — will use a consortium of local sponsors for financial support of the tournament, according to a statement from the foundation.

“The Astros Foundation has always committed to giving back to our community,” said Crane, in a statement. “The funds raised by this tournament will allow us to continue our commitment to serving the people within our county and city and help improve our  parks.”

Fans, followers, and organizers of the nationally relevant tournament have expressed concerns over the Houston Open’s future, as it was without a title sponsor — since Shell Oil declined to renew its contract after the 2017 tournament.

The Houston Golf Association ran it without a title sponsor this year, and the tour struggled to find a replacement. The announcement also means the Houston Golf Association is no longer the host organization of the Houston Open after 72 years.

Next season will be the first time the Houston Open is not part of the PGA Tour season since 1969. The Houston Open dates to 1946 when Byron Nelson won at River Oaks Country Club. The always nattily attired Ian Poulter won this year.