Sponsorship is playing a growing role in Morton’s Restaurant Group, Inc.’s marketing efforts.

The publicly-traded company, which operates 77 fine-dining restaurants in the U.S., Asia, Canada and Mexico, has partnered with the PGA Tour in the official steakhouse category.

The deal, which marks Morton’s first sponsorship with a pro sports league, builds on existing ties with several professional golf tournaments including the AT&T National PGA Tour stop in Philadelphia.

Morton’s also sponsors a handful of pro sports teams. The steakhouse chain last year inked a new tie with the NHL Chicago Blackhawks, adding to a portfolio that includes the NBA Cleveland Cavaliers and San Antonio Spurs and the NFL New Orleans Saints and Washington Redskins.

Morton’s is expanding its use of sports marketing as a platform to create excitement in local restaurants and build relations with frequent customers, said Roger Drake, the company’s senior vice president of marketing and communications.

For example, Morton’s plans to activate the PGA Tour by hosting celebrity server events and other types of fundraisers that benefit the charities of PGA Tour pros. The restaurant chain last year raised more than $1.3 million at ten of those events, said Drake, noting that the company’s signature event with NFL Arizona Cardinals wide receiver Larry Fitzgerald raised more than $200,000 for the athlete’s charity.

The company also will offer discount meals to PGA Tour pros.

In addition, Morton’s will further leverage the PGA Tour by offering golf outings to TPC clubs. The restaurant chain will sell the trips similar to wine cruises and other vacation packages.

“Guests love those types of experiences, and we can turn it into something special by offering something they couldn’t access on their own,” said Drake.

Morton’s also plans to use the tie to develop a commemorative PGA Tour-themed cocktail and run cross-promotions with Tour sponsors. For example, Morton’s may team with Beringer Vineyards to sell wine and steak sandwiches at tournaments, said Drake, noting that the restaurant chain sells Beringer wine.

Morton’s has activated its partnership with the AT&T National by selling steak sandwiches at the tournament, he added.

Morton’s replaces OSI Restaurant Partners, LLC’s Outback Steakhouse, which previously served as an official marketing partner of the PGA Tour and title sponsor of the Outback Steakhouse Pro-Am Champions Tour event in Lutz, Florida.

Morton’s activation will provide more exposure for the PGA Tour than Outback, which largely focused its activation efforts on the Outback Steakhouse Pro-Am, said Rob Ohno, the PGA Tour’s senior vice president of corporate marketing.

“Now we have a partner that will embrace our tour platform and activate the partnership on a year-round basis.”