LPGA Commish Vows To Keep Kraft Nabisco Championship At Mission Hills
The LPGA Kraft Nabisco Championship will stay at Mission Hills Country Club in Rancho Mirage, Calif., "as long as" Mike Whan remains LPGA Commissioner, according to a front-page piece by Larry Bohannan of the Palm Springs DESERT SUN. Whan said, "Keeping our first major of the year at Mission Hills, the jump into Poppie’s Pond, keeping that tradition, and that’s really what it is, the tradition. We have to keep that tradition. We don’t have that many.” Whan’s confidence in the LPGA’s "future in the desert in 2015 and beyond comes just one year before Kraft’s contract with the LPGA to run the Kraft Nabisco Championship will come to an end." Kraft after the '09 tournament "activated a clause that converted its contract with the LPGA from an evergreen deal -- one year was added for every year that rolled off -- into a straightforward five-year deal." Kraft Nabisco Tournament Chair & Exec Dir David Blake-Thomas said that "no decision has been made about Kraft’s involvement" beyond '14. He added that decisions have been delayed in part "by Kraft’s split into two different companies last fall." Blake-Thomas: "It has likely delayed until later this summer a full review and discussion of Kraft Nabisco’s involvement with the tournament.” He said that Kraft’s "lack of action four years into the five-year deal shouldn't be interpreted as Kraft already deciding to walk away from the event when its contract expires." Bohannan notes the "changes to the operations of the tournament" in '13 and '14 include Kraft’s hiring of IMG. Whan said that IMG should give Kraft "more of an idea of the role of a traditional tournament sponsor rather than the role of tournament owners responsible for day-to-day operations" (Palm Springs DESERT SUN, 4/2).