Northfield, NJ -- The Atlantic City LPG Benefit Association today announced that it has been forced to cease operation of the ShopRite LPGA Classic, one of the longest-running events on the LPGA Tour. Tournament chairman Larry Harrison issued the following statement:
“It is with great sadness and profound regret that we take this step to discontinue the tournament, however, we were left with no choice but to do so. In July, the LPGA commissioner notified us that they were awarding our date on the Tour schedule to another tournament despite a commitment from the previous Tour leadership that our date would remain intact through at least 2008. Since that time, we have attempted to negotiate a workable date and a new contract with the LPGA, to no avail.
“In effect, there has been no true negotiation with the Tour, and no direct communication with the Tour commissioner or her staff throughout this process. Rather, the Tour, through its outside legal counsel, has simply offered a few undesirable and/or unworkable dates, of which only one was even remotely acceptable.“As a result, despite a 21-year record of enormous success, a total outlay of more than $16 million in purses to LPGA players, and charitable donations totaling more than $12 million to scores of worthy non-profit organizations, we find ourselves in a position whereby it is no longer feasible for us to continue with this event.
“During the period of time when we were working to resolve the scheduling issues, we also attempted to negotiate a new contract with the LPGA, contingent upon reaching an agreement on a new date. Again, there was no meaningful negotiation, only a ‘take it or leave it’ proposition on the part of the LPGA. To make matters worse, the LPGA imposed unrealistic deadlines for execution of the agreement and showed no willingness to try to resolve issues surrounding the contract, all of which would have made it exceedingly difficult, if not impossible, to succeed going forward. In the end, and mindful of the best interests of our beneficiaries, we could not proceed with the unfavorable terms put forth by the LPGA.
“The untenable circumstance we are confronted with was created by the leadership of the Tour, their decision to rescind our date and their unwillingness to negotiate in good faith on an alternative date and a contract.
“This is an outcome that we desperately hoped could be avoided, but, in the final analysis, it was made necessary by the decisions and actions on the part of the LPGA leadership.
“We remain deeply proud of the significant contribution we have made to the growth, success and stability of the LPGA Tour over the past 21 years, and the sizable impact we have had on so many worthy non-profit organizations. It is truly sad and unfortunate that our region has lost a high profile, world class sporting event, and that these charities will no longer be able to count on our funding.”
I'd make a joke, but this is so pathetic that there is nothing to say.
Well, actually, reader Tom, who sent this in, did point out that this, coupled with the demise of the HSBC Women's World Match Play (played at Hamilton Farm in NJ and the Sybase Classic at Wykagyl, means that under The Brand Lady's watch, the LPGA has gone from three significant events in the world's largest media market to maybe, just maybe one if the match play sticks around.
The LPGA responds:
In a tersely worded statement Wednesday night, the LPGA challenged the accuracy of Harrison's version of events and hinted at legal action. "Harrison's statement is full of falsehoods and incorrect accounts," the LPGA statement said. "We've directed our legal counsel to contact Mr. Harrison's attorney and have him rescind the statement."