Tuesday, August 29, 2006

R.I.P. Atlanta Charity Championship

I just got the bad news – the LPGA event at Stockbridge, Georgia will not be on the 2007 schedule. The president of the organization that runs the event notified the LPGA that they have not been able to secure a sponsor and rather than endure the uncertainty that plagued this year’s event, released their reserved date for next year. Here is the article that soured my day.

There’s been much discussion of the impending changes to the LPGA schedule over the last couple of months, and I’m a little surprised that nobody (including myself) mentioned the Atlanta event as being in jeopardy. My reason for not worrying about it – Chik-Fil-A pulled out on them only three months before the event, and the tournament officials did manage to find a replacement. Unfortunately, Florida’s Natural has had a bit of an off-year and can’t continue the sponsorship. Which is too bad – despite not having TV coverage and a slightly reduced purse, the field was outstanding and IMO the tournament was very well run.

So just when the LPGA appears to be hitting stride and making an effort to align itself with more diversified corporate sponsors, they lose a tournament in one of the largest markets in the country. What now? Do they try to persuade a potential sponsor to step in and save the Atlanta event, or use the open date to help resolve the ShopRite-Ginn Resorts conflict? The former would take a miracle, the latter difficult to construct. One thing is almost certain - my commute to an LPGA event next year will take longer than the 75 minutes it did this April.