Sports Outside the Beltway

Tulsa LPGA tournament needs a new sponsor

The tour event’s sponsor filed for bankruptcy earlier this week. From AP-

OKLAHOMA CITY — After the title sponsor of an LPGA tournament in suburban Tulsa declared bankruptcy earlier this week, tournament officials say efforts are under way to preserve the eight-year-old event.

The SemGroup Championship has been played in May at Cedar Ridge Country Club in Broken Arrow, but it seems likely a new title sponsor for the event will be needed, as Tulsa-based SemGroup LP filed for bankruptcy on Tuesday after losing a reported $2.4 billion in hedged trading on the oil futures markets.

Doug Eibling of Octagon, a sports management and marketing company that owns the LPGA event, said Friday a search has started to replace SemGroup as the title sponsor. Eibling, the tournament’s director, said that as SemGroup’s troubles became public knowledge this week, Octagon received calls from three potential title sponsors, which he declined to name.

Paula Creamer won this year’s tournament in a playoff over Juli Inkster. Next year’s tournament is scheduled for May 28-31.

The LPGA will hold the tournament’s spot on the schedule in hope another sponsor is found. I find the 2009 date interesting, The LPGA schedule is usually not announced till November.

Will the LPGA find a new sponsor? I really don’t know, but with the US in a economic downturn, you have to suppose it won’t be an easy task. The Phoenix LPGA event is also looking for a new sponsor, and is finding it difficult even though the tournament has strong backing from the community and tour players.

Then throw in the problems revolving around the Ginn tournaments, plus other shaky tournaments, pro ladies golf in the US is on potentially shaky footing. The day the LPGA plays more events outside the US than in may not be that far off.

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