You'll be shocked, SHOCKED to find out that IMG was involved in the LPGA ShopRite Classic getting set aside for the "Ginn Tribute Hosted By Annika Sorenstam."
The press release:
GINN SPORTS ENTERTAINMENT TO STAGE ONE OF RICHEST LPGA TOUR EVENTS WITH $2.6 MILLION GINN TRIBUTE HOSTED BY ANNIKA SORENSTAM IN CHARLESTON, S.C.
ARNOLD PALMER DESIGNED RIVERTOWNE COUNTRY CLUB COURSE TO HOST WORLD'S GREATEST FEMALE PLAYERS MAY 31-JUNE 3
MT. PLEASANT, S.C., July 17, 2006 - Ginn Sports Entertainment LLC announced today that Ginn Clubs & Resorts will sponsor and stage its second LPGA tournament-- the Ginn Tribute Hosted by Annika Sorenstam at the Arnold Palmer designed RiverTowne Country Club Course at the Belvidere Resort, May 31-June 3, 2007. The announcement was made today by Ginn Clubs & Resorts President Bobby Ginn and LPGA Commissioner Carolyn F. Bivens.
Ginn also announced that the Ginn Tribute Hosted by Annika Sorenstam will be run and operated exclusively by IMG and televised nationally by NBC Sports.
The 72-hole event will also focus on a tribute to an LPGA great each year. The player will be honored and saluted in ceremonies during tournament week.
The addition of this $2.6 million event brings the fast growing Ginn Clubs & Resorts portfolio to four professional golf events-two on the LPGA Tour and two on the Champions Tour. Ginn Clubs & Resorts hosted the LPGA's Ginn Open in Reunion, FL earlier this year and two Champions Tour events have recently been announced for 2007-the Ginn Championship at Hammock Beach set to be played March 26-April 1 with a $2.5 million purse and the Ace Group Classic Champions Tour event in mid-February of 2007 which will be hosted at Ginn's Quail West community and golf courses in Naples, FL.
"It is unbelievable how fast we are growing," said Bobby Ginn, President and CEO of Ginn Clubs & Resorts. "I certainly didn't think we'd be where we are this fast with four professional events for our rapidly developing golf resort and real estate communities. "We had an unbelievable first venture with the LPGA in Reunion and we'll stage another fantastic event in Charleston. To have Annika Sorenstam, the world's greatest female player as our host makes this tournament even more special."
"I am thrilled and excited to host this prestigious inaugural event," said Annika Sorenstam. "I have a great relationship with Bobby Ginn and Ginn Clubs and Resorts and this tournament further highlights the direction that we are taking together."
"We are very excited to once again team up with Bobby Ginn and the Ginn Company for the Ginn Tribute Hosted by Annika Sorenstam, which will debut in 2007," said Carolyn Bivens, LPGA commissioner. "Ginn's initial event with us, the 2006 Ginn Clubs & Resorts Open in Orlando, was world-class from the start. I am confident that this will be repeated at the inaugural event in Charleston where players will experience exceptional hospitality and a fabulous course and fans will be treated to great competition by the best players in the world."
The Arnold Palmer designed course at RiverTowne Country Club that will test the skills of the greatest women players in the world was named the 2004 South Carolina Course of the Year by the South Carolina Golf Course Owners Association. The 18-hole par 72 layout measures 6,679 yards from the medal tees.
Sixteen golf courses have either been constructed or are in development and Ginn's course architects are a Who's Who in the world of golf-Hall of Famers Jack Nicklaus, Arnold Palmer, Nick Faldo, Nick Price, Tom Watson and Tom Kite all have either designed or are designing courses on Ginn's resort properties.
The Ginn Company commissioned golf legend Arnold Palmer to develop Charleston's first Arnold Palmer Signature Golf Course. The 18-hole championship course includes 13 holes that wind along the Wando River and Horlbeck Creek. The five sets of tees on this 7,200-yard venue provide spectacular challenges that are meant to deliver a memorable golfing experience to every player of the game. RiverTowne Country Club received a 4.5 star rating in Golf Digest's Place to Play in 2005 and it was the South Carolina Course of the Year in 2004.