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Volume 24 No. 158
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LPGA Safeway Classic Hit By Less Title Sponsor Involvement, Changes To '13 Calendar

The LPGA Safeway Classic returns to Columbia Edgewater Country Club this week, a venue "well-liked by tour players," but it is "dealing with reduced involvement from its title sponsor and less-than-ideal dates," according to Mike Tokito of the Portland OREGONIAN. The event also has "halved its pro-am to one day, potentially cutting the proceeds of its biggest fund-raiser and endangering the tournament’s seven-year streak of contributing" at least $1M to local children’s charities. Tournament Golf Foundation President Tom Maletis, whose group coordinates the event, said, "It will have a financial impact on the tournament. Obviously, we’ve got a good product that we’re selling, we’ve got a good field, and we’re back at Columbia Edgewater. We’re going to do our best to minimize the losses that we may have.” TGF is running the tournament "under a one-year contract extension with Safeway, an arrangement it has operated under since the grocery chain’s long-time contract expired" in '10. But Safeway this year has "curtailed its involvement, no longer sponsoring a vendor’s tent or sending as many executives and vendors to enter the pro-am." The tournament this year because of the mid-August Solheim Cup was "pushed back into Labor Day weekend and into an overlap with Saturday’s college football openers for Oregon and Oregon State." Maletis said that attendance "could take a hit, especially Saturday" (Portland OREGONIAN, 8/28).