Optimism surrounding future of LPGA Championship


PITTSFORD, N.Y. – Locust Hill Country Club is at its shimmering best this week for the Wegmans LPGA Championship.

If this is the last time the old course hosts a major, it will be remembered at its best and maybe toughest. The course is as lush and green as any you’ll see in Ireland. The rough is brutally thick and the fairways are pinched.

“This golf course is playing long and it’s playing tough,” said Cristie Kerr, who won the event in a 12-shot runaway in 2010. “The greens are as perfect as I’ve ever seen them. The golf course is in splendid shape.”

While the Wegmans LPGA Championship enters a second straight year with its future uncertain, there’s more optimism in the air that a long-term future can be secured than there was last year.

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A year ago, the event began without an agreement in place for 2013. A one-year extension was worked out after last year's finish. This week opens with no agreement in place for 2014, but with the hint of something more promising in the works.

“I feel good about the future,” LPGA commissioner Mike Whan told the Rochester Democrat and Chronicle last week. “I don't have anything to announce, I can't tell you it's locked and loaded, but I feel like the relationship is strong between the two of us. Anyone who writes a story saying it's over, they're going to be ahead of themselves. Maybe I'm wrong, maybe I'll be the one that's surprised, but I feel good that we have a future in Rochester.'

Wegmans tournament leaders were equally upbeat.

“We are more optimistic today than we have been in the past coming into our tournament that we might be able to work something out for beyond this year,” Bill Strassburg, a co-tournament chairman and Wegmans liason, told the newspaper. “There is no deal done at this moment, but Mike Whan and I talk regularly and we are trying to figure out a way to be able to extend the tournament in Rochester.'