Grant Thornton LLP, a Chicago-based audit, tax and advisory firm, has become the third presenting sponsor of The Players Championship and a marketing partner of the PGA Tour.

 

The firm also signed a separate partnership deal with 2015 Players champion Rickie Fowler, who won the Hero World Challenge last week with a final-round 61.

Grant Thornton joins Morgan Stanley and Optum in its association with The Players. Both The Players sponsorship and marketing agreement with the Tour is for five years. Financial terms, as is customary with the Tour, were undisclosed.

“Grant Thornton is the kind of acclaimed organization that aligns with the vision and values of the PGA Tour and The Players Championship,” Tour commissioner Jay Monahan said in a statement. “Grant Thornton will help support the continued growth and charitable impact of the event as we strive to present a showcase of excellence for players, guests and fans from around the world.”

Fowler will begin wearing the Grant Thornton logo on his shirt in competitive Tour rounds and other professional appearances beginning in 2018, and will appear in the firm’s national advertising campaign.

Grant Thornton was founded in 1924 and has revenues in excess of $1.7 billion and operates 59 offices.

Hoffman reveals MD diagnosis

Morgan Hoffman, a PGA Tour member and the winner of the inaugural Junior Players Championship in 2007, revealed he was diagnosed with muscular dystrophy in November of 2016 and that his right pectoral muscle is nearly gone.

Hoffman, who is from New Jersey, wrote on The Players Tribune web site that he began noticing a deterioration of his pectoral muscle about five years ago.

“Even though the type of muscular dystrophy that I have doesn’t pose an immediate threat to my life, there is a good chance that it will shorten it,” Hoffman wrote. “I don’t know when that will happen, because there’s no way to gauge the speed at which the disease will spread. But please know this: This disease won’t keep me from achieving my dream of winning on the PGA Tour — and it shouldn’t keep anyone else from chasing their dreams either.”

Hoffman is exempt on the Tour after finishing 81st on the final FedEx Cup points standings. He is a five-year Tour veteran and came the closest to wining last year when he finished second to former Oklahoma State teammate Rickie Fowler at the Honda Classic.

He said the characteristics of his type of muscular dystrophy — facioscapulohumeral — are atrophy of the chest, back, neck, arms and sometimes the legs.

“Each case is different, and some muscles degenerate more quickly than others,” Hoffmann wrote. “As of now, the disease has progressed slowly.”

Spieth needs alterations

Jordan Spieth said he doesn’t know his jacket size — only that his green jacket for winning the 2015 Masters is too big.

“I never got it tailored, so it’s huge,” Spieth said last week. “I never trusted anybody, never wanted anyone to go do it. I didn’t give them my size originally. I wore the one off the green that day, and I never gave it back to them to tailor or anything. I should now.”

Asked for his jacket size, Spieth wasn’t sure, only that it was somewhere around a 40.

Comings and goings

Stu Nichol, the senior vice-resident of broadcasting and programming for the PGA Tour, has left to become head of television production for the European Tour. Nichol is expected to start his new job in January at a time when the European Tour is taking control of European Tour Productions. Previously, it was a shared venture between the European Tour and IMG Media.

In addition, Scott Reid, the former tournament director of the RSM Classic at the Sea Island Club, will be the tournament director for the 2019 PGA Championship at Bethpage State Park in New York.

Kopeka injures wrist

U.S,. Open champion Brooks Koepka has soreness in his left wrist and won’t be playing until the Sentry Tournament of Champions in Kalalua, Hawaii on Jan. 7-10.

Koepka said he noticed the pain after winning the Japanese Tour’s Dunlop Phoenix by nine shot.

PGA Tour

Event: QBE Shootout, Friday-Sunday, Tiburon Golf Club, Naples.

At stake: $3.3 million purse ($410,000 to each player on the winning team).

Defending champions: Matt Kuchar-Harris English.

TV: Golf Channel (Friday-Saturday 1-4:30 p.m.; Sunday 1-2 p.m.); NBC (Sunday, 2-4 p.m.).

Area players entered: Kuchar-English, Billy Horschel (playing with Jason Dufner), Zach Johnson (playing with Charley Hoffman), Brian Harman (playing with Pat Perez.

Notable: The format will be a scramble in the first round, modified alternate shot in the second and better ball in the third. … Kuchar and English have won two of the last four years. … One of the teams is co-ed, Tony Finau and Lexi Thompson. … The PNC Father-Son Challenge is next week in Orlando.