Updated: 05/29/2014 11:29 AM
Created: 05/28/2014 4:44 PM WHEC.com
By: Lynette Adams
It's been a staple of summertime in Rochester for 38 years, but that streak is coming to an end for the Wegmans Rochester LPGA Championship. The major tournament is making a move downstate next year and it's all because Wegmans says it was just too expensive.
The LPGA will end its 38 year run in August at the Monroe Golf Club. After years of being its sole sponsor, Wegmans is pulling out. Wegmans CEO Danny Wegman said it is simply a business decision.
Danny Wegman, Wegmans CEO, said, “I feel very badly because it was here for a long time, but my hope is maybe it comes back when we get some more support from the community.”
Danny Wegman says for the last 15 years Wegmans has been trying to get other local companies to join them, but with no takers, Wegmans became the sole sponsor in 2010. Wegman says it is expensive.
Wegman said, “We don’t have that many national supporters, people who want to advertise and support the ladies. It gets very expensive to put this on without this kind of support, that's what makes a business work.”
Sponsorship includes the cost of the purse and television coverage. Wegman said the company and LPGA came to a mutual decision to part ways. Pittsford's Locust Hill has hosted the LPGA for the last 37 years. Pittsford Supervisor Bill Smith says this is disappointing news and says the community will feel the loss.
Bill Smith, Pittsford Supervisor, said, “These things are very nice to have and it goes beyond merely knowing that they're in your community, there's a sense of excitement. As I said to someone else today, there's a sense of fun in the air when we have these kinds of marquee events, so quite apart from the economic impact that will be missing now too.”
Wegmans President Colleen Wegman issued a statement saying, "We are extremely proud to have been a part of such a long-standing, world class event in our hometown. This tournament was a great example of the community working together to make a difference and celebrate the philanthropic spirit that defines Rochester. We are very grateful to Rochester golf fans, community sponsors, volunteers, Wegmans employees, Locust Hill Country Club, Monroe Golf Club, the Rotary Clubs, United Way and local media for their support over the years."
The LPGA is looking to move the championship to New York City next year and the accounting firm KPMG is expected to be named title sponsor. Wegman said if other local companies step up and express an interest in co-sponsoring the event, even at this late hour, Wegmans may reconsider its decision.