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Wednesday, January 28, 2009

Credit Crunch biting LPGA Tour and

US Seniors Tour sponsors

The Credit Crunch is beginning to bite in all sorts of quarters ... including the LPGA Tour and the American Seniors Tour.
Ginn Resorts real estate company has announced that it is terminating all its golf sponsorships with immediate effect.
That looks like final curtains for the LPGA's Ginn Open and the men's Champions' Tour event, the Ginn Championship.
Ginn Resorts is also ceasing its sponsorship of LPGA Tour player Cristie Kerr, the last player wearing the company’s apparel after Annika Sorenstam’s retirement.
“This wasn’t something that was done lightly,” said Robert Gidel, Ginn Development’s president and CEO.
“We got to a point where we had to give up on hope as a strategy. We just now have to figure out what’s in the best interest of our people, and I think that’s where a lot of companies are these days.”
Ginn said late last year that it was dropping the US PGA Tour’s Ginn sur Mer Classic because of the ailing real estate market. But the LPGA event in Reunion, Fla., and the Champions Tour stop in Palm Coast, Fla., were both to be played on Ginn courses.
Last week, though, Ginn ended its real estate sales and marketing operations “due to the loss of revenue” that was the primary source of funding the purses and buying television coverage for the LPGA and Champions Tour events.
“We did the best we could, but the economy got the best of us,” Gidel said.
Losing the Ginn Open will be a major blow to the LPGA Tour. The event’s $2.5 million purse was the third-largest on that tour in 2008, behind only the US Women’s Open and the Evian Masters.
If the Ginn Open is not replaced that will mean the LPGA scheule will have only 30 events this year, with nearly $7.5 million less in prize money than last season.

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