LPGA Kia Classic To Change San Diego Venues After Extension Of Title Sponsor
The LPGA Kia Classic beginning next year will be held at the Aviara Golf Club near San Diego, which was announced yesterday as part of Kia's three-year extension to continue as the event's title sponsor. The tournament previously was held at nearby La Costa Resort (Kia). Kia Classic Tournament Dir Dennis Baggett said that the event "is expected to be held at Aviara for the length of the contract." Bagget: "The LPGA and Kia wanted to keep it in North County in San Diego, and Aviara is a great golf course. The way it sets up will be great for an LPGA tournament.” In San Diego, Tod Leonard writes Aviara is "considered among the most scenic in San Diego." The '13 event will be played March 21-24 "as the second U.S. tournament" on the LPGA Tour schedule. The event is "expected to attract virtually all of the top women players in the world," including defending champion Yani Tseng (SAN DIEGO UNION-TRIBUNE, 12/20).
TAMPA LOSES TOURNEY: In Tampa, Rodney Page reports the Champions Tour is "bypassing Tampa Bay," as the mid-April stop at TPC Tampa Bay in Lutz has "been replaced by the Greater Gwinnett Championship in Duluth, Ga." Champions Tour President Mike Stevens said, "We just couldn't find a (title) sponsor in Tampa. We had some nibbles. But at the end of the day, we were not able to get anyone across the line." Page writes the "beginning of the end" came when Outback Steakhouse, the title sponsor since '04, "pulled out" after the '11 event. Tournament officials "scrambled to find another sponsor" before Encompass Insurance came on board for '12, but Encompass was "only a one-year fix because it hosts a new event in Glenview, Ill., starting in June." On Sept. 1, with "no title sponsor in sight, all full- and part-time employees were let go" (TAMPA BAY TIMES, 12/20).