LPGA future at a crossroads at Locust Hill

By Randall MellJune 28, 2010, 5:01 am
LPGA ChampionshipPITTSFORD, N.Y. – So where does the LPGA Championship go from here?

The question lingers in the wake of Cristie Kerr’s victory Sunday at Locust Hill Country Club.

This was originally planned as the temporary home of the LPGA Championship with Wegmans the temporary presenting sponsor. This was supposed to be a one-year solution as the LPGA sought a long-term answer after losing McDonald’s as sponsor last year and taking ownership of the event this year.

Locust Hill was supposed to return to its former place as a regular tour stop next year and Wegmans was supposed to return as the title sponsor.

But the Wegmans family is making it known it would very much like to keep the major championship here.

“We would really enjoy being designated a major in the future,” said Jerry Stahl, co-chairman of the local tournament foundation. “We have the support of our sponsor, Wegmans, to pursue that.”

And LPGA commissioner Mike Whan is considering the possibility.

“We’re still looking at options,” LPGA chief communications officer David Higdon said.

It’s a crossroads for this championship’s future.

Should the tour embrace the security and stability Wegmans offers and make this the long-term home of the event? The downside is that with the tour’s roots here going back 34 years, it’s more difficult to make this feel like a major championship. The event’s been a regular tour stop for so long.

Higdon said the tour will meet with Wegmans tournament officials to review how this week played out as a major and what modifications would be required for the LPGA Championship to remain here.

The local tournament foundation’s contract with Locust Hill runs one more year. Wegmans actually has no contract with the tournament foundation and operates on a handshake agreement.

“It’s a good faith contract, but the Wegmans family is very, very supportive of this event,” Stahl said.

There’s no frontrunner as future sponsor or home to the championship. The tour had serious talks with DuPont about becoming sponsor of the LPGA Championship and returning the event to DuPont Country Club in Delaware, but tour officials are looking elsewhere again.

Count Kerr among players who would like the LPGA Championship to remain at Locust Hill.

“I think this is a great venue for the tournament,” Kerr said. “The fans are some of the best, if not the best we have on tour. The sponsor is one of our longest standing.”

Tournament officials estimate attendance will be about 100,000 for the week. The crowds were good despite weather problems, with turnouts substantially better than they were at the McDonald’s LPGA Championship at Bulle Rock last year.

“That’s important,” Hall of Famer Nancy Lopez said. “I think the LPGA Championship should be played in a community that will support it. It’s exciting to win a major and be surrounded by adoring crowds. The excitement and electricity that surround an event is what makes it feel like a major. A lot of times, we’ve gone to majors and don’t have large crowds.

“Locust Hill is a great golf course, and I love it here.”

Hall of Famer Juli Inkster said she would like to see the LPGA Championship rotate to traditional venues that conjur major championship memories and history.

“This has been awesome here this week, but I would like to see it rotate to some well known championship courses,” Inkster said. “I think it makes a difference. It adds credibility to the LPGA Championship, not that this does not. It’s been a great test this week, and it was set up well.”

LPGA veteran Angela Stanford appreciates Wegmans devotion to the tour, but she sees a dilemma.

“We are in a tough spot, because Wegmans is a great sponsor and they’ve had a great event for many years,” Stanford said. “In my mind, if the LPGA Championship stays here, we are losing a tournament.

“Ideally, you would like to have Wegmans back and have the LPGA Championship rotate among three golf courses. I think it would be pretty cool to have it rotate among three courses in the Northeast. That’s my idea.”

At this point, the LPGA appears to still be open to ideas about the future of its important event.

Getty Images

Rose leads halted Indonesian Masters; Snedeker WDs

By Associated PressDecember 15, 2017, 2:04 pm

JAKARTA, Indonesia - Justin Rose held a three-stroke lead at the Indonesian Masters when bad weather stopped play Friday during the second round.

The Englishman, who shot a 10-under 62 on Thursday, had completed 13 holes and was 5 under on the day at the Royale Jakarta Golf Club course.

Kiradech Aphibarnrat (64) was in second place.

Brandt Snedeker withdrew wit on the 11th hole at 2 under for the day after shooting an opening 72.

There was no reason given for his withdrawal, but the American has been affected by a rib-sternum injury for most of the season. Ranked 51st in the world, he flew to Jakarta looking to move inside the top 50 by the end of the year and ensure a spot in next year's Masters.

Newsmaker of the Year: No. 2, Donald Trump

By Golf Channel DigitalDecember 15, 2017, 1:00 pm

Even away from the White House, President Donald Trump generated plenty of headlines this year.

Trump’s first year in office didn’t dim his enthusiasm for the game, as he made splashy appearances at two big events, tweeted about golf to his more than 44 million followers, teed it up with some of the sport’s biggest stars, including Tiger Woods, Rory McIlroy and Lexi Thompson, and fired a few eyebrow-raising scores. Logging more than 75 rounds since his inauguration, the 3-handicap has only bolstered his reputation as the best golfing president, particularly after his alleged 73 with Sen. Lindsey Graham.

None of his appearances created a bigger stir than when he attended the U.S. Women’s Open. Despite protests and calls for the USGA to move its premier women’s event from Trump Bedminster – the president reportedly threatened to sue – his weekend there went off without incident, as Trump watched the action and hosted players in his private box near the 15th green.

Full list of 2017 Newsmakers of the Year

Despite his controversial rhetoric on a variety of national issues, Trump has remained a staunch supporter of women’s golf, and he became the first sitting president to attend the U.S. Women’s Open.

An honorary chairman of the Presidents Cup, Trump also flew to Liberty National for the biennial team event, where he presented the trophy to the U.S. team and dedicated the victory to the hurricane victims in Texas, Florida and Puerto Rico.

In late November, amid tweets about the national anthem, Turkey, Egypt and Time Magazine, Trump announced that he was playing a round in South Florida with Woods and world No. 1 Dustin Johnson.

Yes, that too became a headline, just like everything else Trump did in 2017.

Playing with the pros

Tiger, DJ and Faxon

Article: Video, images from Tiger, DJ's round with Trump

Article: After DJ and Tiger, Trump plays golf with Jack

Rory faces criticism

Article: Rory: Round with Trump about respect for presidency

Article: Rory: Round with Trump not a 'political statement'

President at the Presidents Cup

Video: President Trump makes the rounds at Liberty National

Article: President Trump presents trophy to U.S. team

Article: Stricker: 'Great thrill' to get trophy from Trump

Purported round of 73 with Lindsey Graham

Article: Senator tweets Trump shot 73 in windy, wet conditions

Article: Graham offers details on Trump's round of 73

Cart on the green

Article: Trump appears to drive cart on Bedminster green

Presence and protests at U.S. Women's Open

Article: Trump makes presidential history at Women's Open

Article: Trump supporters, protesters clash near Women's Open

Article: UltraViolet takes protest inside Trump National

Photo gallery: President Trump at the U.S. Women's Open

Trump golf properties


Article: Environmental group vandalizes Trump golf course

Article: Man accused of vandalizing four Trump courses


Article: Two Trump courses in Scotland losing millions

Article: Eric Trump denies Russia helped fund golf courses

Article: Trump company ordered to pay $5.77M in dues dispute

Reportedly fake TIME covers

Article: Trump clubs display fake Time magazine cover

Trump apologizes for voter-fraud story

Report: Trump's voter fraud claim tied to Langer

Langer: Trump 'apologized' for story mix-up

Pros comment on the president

Article: Players defend Trump at Senior PGA Championship

Article: Trump congratulates Daly; Daly congratulates Trump

Getty Images

Newsmakers of the Year: Top 10 in 2017

By Golf Channel DigitalDecember 15, 2017, 12:30 pm

Spieth, Thomas headline winter break trip to Cabo

By Grill Room TeamDecember 15, 2017, 1:05 am

Justin Thomas and Jordan Spieth. Really good at golf. Really good at vacationing.

With #SB2K18 still months away, Thomas and Spieth headlined a vacation to Cabo San Lucas, and this will shock you but it looks like they had a great time.

Spring break veteran Smylie Kaufman joined the party, as did Thomas' roommate, Tom Lovelady, who continued his shirtless trend.

The gang played all the hits, including shoeless golf in baketball jerseys and late nights with Casamigos tequila.

Image via tom.lovelady on Instagram.

In conclusion, it's still good to be these guys.