SBD/Issue 168/Leagues & Governing Bodies

Future Of LPGA Corning Classic Uncertain After 2010

Future Of LPGA Corning Classic
Up In The Air After 2010
The $1.5M LPGA Corning Classic's contract expires in '09 after the 31st edition of the tournament, and rumors are that the event at Corning Country Club in New York "won't be renewed," according to Pete Dougherty of the Albany TIMES UNION. LPGA member Sherri Turner, who won the '88 Corning Classic, said, "I've had a feeling this was going to be coming soon. We all know things don't come easy here. You have to work for it, and I hate knowing that (the end) could happen." The Corning Classic is the LPGA's longest-running tournament, but it will tee off tomorrow with only five of the 25 top-ranked players scheduled to play. LPGA member Paula Creamer will be the only top-seven ranked player in the field. Turner: "The players today are in it for the money for the most part. There's some that are in it for the love of the game, but they're going to go where the money is. I hate seeing that happen because I know why this event is probably not going to continue." Turner believes that the LPGA soon will "elevate its minimum purse to $2[M]." Dougherty writes that amount is "too deep for the pockets of this community, even with the backing of" title sponsor Corning Glass Works (Albany TIMES UNION, 5/21). However, LPGA member Meg Mallon, a non-voting member of the LPGA’s BOD, said that she is “unaware of any talk of bumping the Corning Classic from the LPGA Tour.” Mallon: “I’m on the board and I haven’t heard that” (CORNING LEADER, 5/21). 

OPTIMISTIC ABOUT FUTURE: In New York, Bob Benz reports Tournament President Jack Benjamin is "optimistic Corning will remain part of the LPGA Tour for the foreseeable future." Benjamin: “We have a contract [with the LPGA] through 2009. Then we have an option year for 2010 -- that’s our option. What we’ll do is after 2009, we will begin negotiating a new contract with the LPGA for 2011, ’12 and ’13 and our expectation is it will take a while to do that, so we’ve got the option year to do it and then our plan is to keep right on going, just as we have in the past” (CORNING LEADER, 5/21).

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