LPGA Safeway Classic Officials Hope To Renew Title Sponsorship
The LPGA Tour Safeway Classic "could be in trouble,” as the tournament's title sponsorship contract “expires after this year's event concludes Sunday,” according to Mike Tokito of the Portland OREGONIAN. Sources said that the tournament, which is in its 40th year, “could be on its last legs.” However, Tournament Golf Foundation President Tom Maletis, whose non-profit runs the event, said, "Safeway is a great sponsor, and I'm very optimistic that we will move forward and move into a new agreement." The Safeway Classic is a “Portland institution that has outlived dozens of other professional sports ventures while becoming a philanthropic force in the Portland area.” Safeway signed on as title sponsor in '96 “with a three-year rolling contract,” and the event “continues on as the oldest continuous regular event on the LPGA Tour.” Maletis said that TGF and Safeway officials “will meet after the tournament.” Safeway spokesperson Dan Floyd said that the “final decision on sponsorship will come from the company's corporate office in Pleasanton, Calif.” Floyd: "The success of the tournament is very important, the money we raise for charity is important, and probably at the top of the list would be the state of the economy. It's tough to bring in sponsors, and it's expensive to put on a golf tournament like this." He added, "It's been a very good relationship, it's an excellent tournament, and this position is nothing new." Tokito notes the title sponsor decision “ties into the Safeway Classic's deal with Pumpkin Ridge Golf Club.” The tournament's contract to play on the facility's Ghost Creek course “ends this year” (Portland OREGONIAN, 8/17).