The LPGA announced Thursday that Wegmans signed a three-year contract that could stretch to a six-year deal with the tournament having three one-year options to extend the agreement. GolfChannel.com first reported the imminent renewal on Monday with the tour believed to be seeking the five-year rollover deals with which Wegmans had built its long history with the tour. LPGA players were informed of the new deal in a players’ meeting Wednesday night at the Safeway Classic in North Plains, Ore.
The purse will remain $2 million next year.
Jiyai Shin won the Wegmans LPGA at the end of June, but the tournament’s future appeared in jeopardy with the tournament’s LPGA contract expiring and renewal talks bogged down. The tournament has traditionally signed rolling five-year deals, though the last three years have been played under one-year extensions. Contract renewal talks bogged down with former LPGA commissioner Carolyn Bivens seeking increased financial commitments from tournaments, including the assessment of significant sanctioning fees.
“What I can tell you is we have a deal,” Wegmans LPGA Tournament Director Linda Hampton said. “We talked about what the LPGA needed, and what we needed, and we’re both happy.”
Bivens was forced out by LPGA membership a little more than a week after the Wegmans LPGA concluded. The tournament’s new deal was negotiated by acting commissioner Marty Evans’ team.
Asked if the Wegmans LPGA agreed to sanctioning fees, Hampton said: “That’s semantics to us. Our discussions were about our long relationship with the tour, 33 years. We’ve had a participation fee with the tour, and we are participating as we always have.”
Hampton said the nature of the three-year deal with options that could extend the agreement to six years added flexibility that supporting sponsors were more comfortable with in this uncertain economic climate.
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