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Farmers steps up to sponsor Torrey Pines PGA tournament

Farmers Insurance stepped in as the title sponsor of the annual PGA tournament at Torrey Pines, which begins Jan. 28, it was announced on Monday.

Tom Wornham, president and chairman of the Century Club, which organizes the tournament, called Farmers Insurance “a knight in shining armor.”

“We were prepared to move forward without a title sponsor this year, but this is wonderful news that provides a tremendous boost to the tournament,” Wornham said.

Buick had been the marquee sponsor since 1992, but pulled out last year when parent company General Motors filed for bankruptcy.

Buick had ties with golfer Tiger Woods, all but guaranteeing his annual participation in the event in those years.

The suddenly controversial Woods is staying away from the sport for the time being and will not appear in the 2010 tournament.

The deal between Farmers and the PGA, which operates the men’s golf tour, includes an option that could allow the country’s third-largest auto-homeowners insurance provider to sponsor future tournaments.