LPGA Concludes Stay In Rochester, But Some Already Eyeing Ways For Golf To Return
Execs in Rochester have already held preliminary talks about "how to make sure next summer isn't the area's first without a women's pro golf event" since '76 after yesterday's conclusion of the Wegmans LPGA Championship, according to Jeff DiVeronica of the ROCHESTER DEMOCRAT & CHRONICLE. The event starting next year is changing to the new KPMG Women's PGA Championship and will not be held in Rochester. Next year's event will be at Westchester Country Club in Rye, N.Y. Madison Green Agency President Erik Stevens, who is married to golfer Cristie Kerr, said, "Our mission is to not let the LPGA go dark here next year." Speaking shortly after the tournament ended, Stevens stressed that there has "only been 'preliminary' discussions with sponsors on trying a shootout-type or smaller golf event featuring some LPGA stars or 'legends.'" Players hope that Rochester "will return to regular tour-stop status as it had been before being elevated to a major in 2010 when McDonald's dropped out as the LPGA Championship's title sponsor." When told about Kerr's post-match comment about "working to find new sponsorship here, LPGA commissioner Mike Whan said he wasn't aware of any LPGA-sanctioned event but did mention he knew Kerr 'might be doing a sponsor outing,' locally" (ROCHESTER DEMOCRAT & CHRONICLE, 8/18). GOLFCHANNEL.com's Randall Mell reported LPGAers "are optimistic ... that they’ll be back to the Rochester area for a regular tour event someday." Golfer Stacy Lewis said, "Everybody's been so supportive for so long, and everybody is sad that we're leaving, but I think we'll be back here in a few years. These crowds today just show that we should be playing here, and I think we'll be back" (GOLFCHANNEL.com, 8/17). Golfer Brittany Lincicome said, "Most cities we go through, they don’t even know we’re in town sometimes. So this community really comes together and loves the LPGA, and I would love to come back and get another tournament back here" (N.Y. TIMES, 8/17).
CAPITULATION TO CAPITALIZATION? In Buffalo, Bucky Gleason writes women’s golf "could return" to Rochester, and perhaps it "will even play host to the LPGA Championship, which no longer is anchored after five years in Pittsford." Monroe Golf Club "remains one of the great venues." Attendance "has been strong for years, and they came out under ideal playing conditions Sunday." Rochester losing its place on the LPGA tour "is yet another example of large corporations swallowing up mom-and-pop operations" (BUFFALO NEWS, 8/18). GOLF.com's Mike Walker wrote, "It's sad that the LPGA is leaving Rochester after 38 years, but renaming this event the Women's PGA Championship and moving it around the country will help make this championship feel like a bigger event" (GOLF.com, 8/17).