Less than three months ago, the tour was threatening a breach of contract lawsuit against tournament officials.
The dramatic change in the LPGA’s approach to tournament relations is evident in acting commissioner Marty Evans’ reaching out to Kapalua Resort executives this summer.
Morgan Pressel was supposed to defend her title at the Kapalua LPGA Classic in Hawaii next week, but the tournament announced this summer that it was canceling the event due to its inability to find a title sponsor. The LPGA responded with the threat of legal action. The upheaval that threat caused proved to be the last straw in player dissatisfaction with the leadership of commissioner Carolyn Bivens. Just days after the Kapalua news broke, players met in Toledo and forced the ouster of Bivens.
Pressel, who has an endorsement deal with the Kapalua Resort, met with Evans at the Navistar LPGA Classic last week to offer her support in bringing the Kapalua event back, tour officials confirmed.
“It’s hard without a sponsor, but, hopefully, something’s in the works,” Pressel said.
David Higdon, the LPGA’s chief of communications, confirmed talks have been renewed.
“Right now, we don’t have Hawaii on our schedule, but we think Kapalua has long-term potential,” Higdon said. “Marty has reached out to them, and it’s something we are working on.”
Gary Planos, senior vice president of Kapalua Resort operations, declined to comment on the talks when reached Monday.
The LPGA has a large hole in its 2010 schedule with no events in Hawaii, home to Michelle Wie, one of the tour’s largest draws. The tour had three Hawaiian events last year.
The next two weeks might be especially restless for Pressel and Angela Stanford with the LPGA schedule darkened by postponed and canceled events.
Stanford was supposed to be the defending champ this week at the Bell Micro LPGA Classic on the Robert Trent Jones Golf Trail in Mobile, Ala., but the event was postponed. It’s scheduled to return next spring.