PITTSFORD, N.Y. – LPGA pros are resigning themselves to the fact that they won’t play a tour event in the Rochester area next year, but there is this overwhelming belief among them that they will eventually be back.
Rochester has been home to an LPGA event since 1977. It became home to the Wegmans LPGA Championship in 2010.
With the LPGA Championship morphing into the new KPMG Women’s PGA Championship next year, the event will be played at Westchester Country Club in 2015. It will move from site to site after that, as the PGA Championship does.
While there is the possibility the PGA could negotiate to bring the KPMG Women’s PGA Championship to Oak Hill in Rochester someday, or that the LPGA will bring a Solheim Cup to Oak Hill, players still believe they’re destined to return annually for another regular tour event.
“I find it hard to believe we will never be back here,” said Hall of Famer Karrie Webb, who sits on the LPGA’s Board of Directors. “I know we probably won’t be back next year, but you can’t have such a great relationship with a community as we’ve had in Rochester and there not be any interest ever again. Rochester has been great for us, but we’ve also been great for the community. Lots of money has been raised for charities. I think once that part goes missing next year, there might be other companies that might want us back as a regular event.”
Webb isn’t alone believing this. Morgan Pressel, Cristie Kerr and Angela Stanford all expressed strong belief they’ll be back.
“I love it here, I love the area,” Pressel said. “I think we’re all hoping we’ll be back.”
Kerr thinks it’s just a matter of time.
“I think a lot of people are pretty sad it’s going to be the last week in Rochester, but our tour needs to move forward,” Kerr said. “We need to keep evolving to get to the next level. It would have been a total home run to be able to keep the Wegmans and add the new one.
“My theory, and my caddie’s theory, is once they see how much this tournament means to the economy here, they’ll bring it back, take a year off and then bring it back. This community needs this event.”