The automaker Cadillac is angling to sponsor a PGA Tour event at Detroit Golf Club in 2012, a move that could mean trouble for Hilton Head's Heritage golf tournament, according to the Detroit Free Press.
A PGA Tour official called the report "speculation."
The newspaper reported Thursday that confidence is higher than ever that Cadillac will sponsor a tour event at the club next year. Most key logistical matters have been addressed, it said.
The PGA Tour has vetted and approved the club, and a nonprofit organization that would run the tournament is being formed, according to the report.
The newspaper said that a Detroit tournament could fill a vacancy that would be created if the Heritage, which is searching for a new title sponsor, doesn't return to Hilton Head next year.
Tournament director Steve Wilmot said it probably wouldn't be simple, however, for the tour to replace its Hilton Head tournament with one in Detroit. Many factors, including dates, would need to be reconciled, he said.
"Is it a concern? Yes," Wilmot said Monday. "But I'm not going to let that concern keep us from continuing to work with the PGA Tour" and state and local government officials.
PGA Tour vice president Ty Votaw declined to comment on how a Detroit event might affect Hilton Head, calling the report conjecture.
Votaw said the tour is trying to sustain the Heritage.
"We remain committed to doing everything we can to find a title sponsor for the Heritage and to keep PGA Tour golf in Hilton Head," Votaw said Monday.
Cadillac likes the club's proximity to Detroit because parent company General Motors is focusing on aiding the city, the Free Press reported, citing a person familiar with the negotiations.
Cadillac is preparing to roll out new models, expected to start next year and include three new vehicles, according to the report.
Tour officials announced in November they would explore opportunities with Cadillac to bring PGA Tour tournament golf "back to Detroit."
General Motors ended its half-century run as sponsor of the Buick Open near Flint, Mich., in 2009, as the automaker cut expenses while under bankruptcy court protection. Buick had been the longest-standing corporate sponsor on the PGA Tour and once had its name on four tournaments, according to the Associated Press.
The Heritage, held for 42 years at Harbour Town Golf Links in Sea Pines, has searched for about a year and a half for a new title sponsor to replace Verizon.
To secure a spot for the Heritage on this year's tour schedule, the foundation that runs the tournament pledged all $4 million of its reserves, and Hilton Head and Beaufort County each made $1 million commitments.
This year's tournament is April 21-24.