Created: 05/29/2014 9:15 PM WHEC.com
By: Justin Granit/Stephen Bond
The LPGA officially announced is taking a swing at another community. The championship brought millions of dollars to businesses in the Rochester area.
For 38 years, the Rochester community has gathered to show the golf world that a small market could make one of the biggest impacts on the game. Hall of Famers like Nancy Lopez adored the hospitality, the enthusiasm provided by this city, but money talks, resulting in the end of the Wegmans LPGA Championship after this summer.
The official announcement came Thursday morning in New York City. Beginning in 2015, the major will become the KPMG Women's PGA Championship, partnering with the PGA of America and head downstate.
In its first year, the major will be played at the Westchester County Club in Rye, New York, then rotate throughout major markets. The new deal includes broadcasting partnerships with NBC and the Golf Channel and an increased purse from $2.2 million to $3.5 million.
Money made it clear. Rochester wasn't an option going forward. The summertime staple brought thousands of people from across the country and without the tournament, the Rochester area stands to lose millions of dollars.
Linda Hampton, LPGA Tournament Director, said, “Based on all the studies and work we've done with the government to understand our impact, its $20 million.”
It is money that goes beyond filling hotels and restaurants. The tournament put dollars back into our community through many different charitable organizations.
Maggie: Brooks, Monroe County Executive, said, “There are things that the players do while they are here that raises money in a different way. It's not all about what they do as part of the tournament. So, yeah all of that is a concern and I think it will leave a void in the community and maybe in the future there will be an opportunity to fill that void.”
The hope is another LPGA event could return to the greater Rochester area.
Hampton said, “It will need the corporate citizenship and support. It'll need the commitment to television and it will need a quality golf course which, we're not lacking in Rochester.”
Brooks said, “This is a golf town, whether it is females playing golf, whether it is men playing golf, we are known for our golf history. Because of that, I think we will always be looked at as a possible venue for professional golf.”
Hampton says it remains to be seen if Rochester can lure another LPGA event back, but she says the area does have the pieces in place to host an event in the future.