LPGA Going Without Title Sponsor For Inaugural Int'l Crown Tournament
The LPGA has "signed three top-tier sponsors" for the inaugural Int'l Crown tournament in July at Caves Valley Golf Club in Owings Mills, Md., according to Ryan McDonald of the BALTIMORE BUSINESS JOURNAL. The ambassador partners are Rolex, South Korea-based Hana Financial Group and Pandora Jewelry, which "has its North America headquarters" in Columbia, Md. Tournament Dir Rich Thomas said that the deals are "worth more than $100,000 each but declined to disclose specific figures." Thomas said that the tournament "opted to not go after a title sponsor and instead focused on the ambassador deals," adding that the move "allowed interested companies to buy in to the July 22-27 tournament at a lower rate." The tournament is "still looking for a fourth ambassador sponsor," but Thomas said that he "doesn’t see it coming from Maryland." Thomas: “I think we’ve exhausted the options here locally" (BIZJOURNALS.com, 4/1). The Baltimore SUN noted Pandora is "new to LPGA sponsorship and is partnering with players Brittany Lincicome, Lizette Salas and Gerina Pillar as brand ambassadors this year." Other local companies that "agreed to sponsor the event include Baltimore-based Constellation Energy, Sparks-based McCormick & Co. and Hunt Valley-based TESSCO Technologies" (BALTIMORESUN.com, 4/1).
KEEPING WITH TRADITION: GOLFWEEK's Beth Ann Nichols noted the Kraft Nabisco Championship "faces a major turning point after the last putt drops on Sunday" when Kraft's title sponsorship of the event ends. Marquee players "have strong opinions about what comes next." Golfer Stacy Lewis said, “When I think of a major, I think of this event. We can’t leave here. This is what our tour is about.” Golfer Karrie Webb said of the event at Mission Hills Country Club in Rancho Mirage, Calif., "It definitely needs to stay here. There's too much history and too much tradition here. If the LPGA lacks anything, in any other events, it's that." Nichols noted as LPGA Commissioner Mike Whan "shops for a new sponsor, Webb is one of many who would like to see the name Dinah Shore return to the event’s title." Webb said, “I just feel like to keep the identity of this event, when people tune in to watch, they're going to know, that's the Dinah Shore, the LPGA's first major of the year.” Nichols noted whoever "takes over the purse strings in the next year should appreciate that the beauty of this event is its past." If the year’s first major "moves to another location and takes on a new name, it loses everything" (GOLFWEEK.com, 4/1).