Sports Outside the Beltway

The LPGA Ginn Open is dead

Another hole has been blown in the 2009 US Women’s professional golf schedule. From the Orlando Sentinel-

The recession has claimed another victim: the Ginn Open, the LPGA Tour’s lone event in Central Florida.

Ginn Sports Entertainment and Ginn Development Company announced Wednesday afternoon that they will no longer host, produce or sponsor professional golf tournaments, including the Ginn Open at Reunion Resort and the Champions Tour Ginn Championship in Palm Coast.

“The economy is rough, and it’s no surprise,” Ginn Open Tournament Director Linda Chen said.

This year’s Ginn Open had been slated for April 16-19, and it is unclear whether the LPGA Tour can find a replacement tournament for that point on the schedule.

The chances of a replacement being found between now and April rank up there with my winning the Florida lottery in any given drawing. It isn’t going to happen.

No one from the LPGA has commented on this latest tournament debacle. AP reports that VP of LPGA communications Connie Wilson as saying because of travel and schedules the tour would have no immediate comment.

Which might be true. Or Carolyn Bivens and other officials are in a bunker somewhere just like they were when their horrendous LPGA English policy was announced not by the tour, but by a member of the golf media. You mean there isn’t one person available on the cell phone right now? I find that hard to believe.

LPGA blogger Hound dog writes-

Despite the reality of the current economic situation, I am pissed off about this announcement. Thanks for waiting until only 11 weeks before your event to pull out, fellas. Thanks for giving the Tour absolutely no chance to replace your over-speculated asses. Thanks for shooting yet another hole in our schedule and removing one of its largest purses to boot. Thanks for giving our Commissioner a reason to alienate and then kick out one of the Tour’s longest-running sponsorships three years ago – since most folks are still buying groceries these days, I imagine the ShopRite people would already be preparing to host their ’09 tournament if you guys hadn’t come barging in.

Hound Dog is right, it would have nice if the company didn’t wait so long to announce the inevitable. The demise of the Ginn Open comes as little surprise to people and blogger knowledgeable about the LPGA considering how the Ginn Tribute folded.

I wrote about the Shoprite debacle two years ago. To make way for Ginn, the LPGA gave the shaft to Shoprite who rather than take crappy dates on the schedule, pulled the plug on their Atlantic City event. It was an outrageous way to treat a long-time LPGA sponsor that earned Carolyn Bivens a Knucklehead award a few months later when she gave the shaft to another LPGA tournament sponsor, Wendy’s. Don’t forget ADT pulled their sponsorship of the year ending West Palm Beach tournament last year because of tournament pricing, not a change in marketing as the LPGA claims.

I wonder how LPGA headquarters will spin the Ginn Story? Some how I imagine a official speaking with the song ‘Don’t worry, be happy.’ playing in the background.

The LPGA will need luck to survive in the US over the next few years. In the meantime, I will repeat what I been saying multiple times for over two years. Carolyn Bivens has to go or the LPGA Tour is cooked.

A few extra notes-

There is no Florida tournament on the 2009 LPGA schedule now. The ADT is defunct, and the Stanford International which was played in the Miami area last year, has since moved to Texas.

The Ginn Open trophy was named after Kelly Jo Dowd, the mother of Dakoda Dowd a amateur who played in the inaugural tournament. Mrs Dowd died less than two years ago.

Her husband, Dakoda’s father, Mike Dowd was quoted as saying-

“It would have been phenomenal to have Kelly Jo’s name on that trophy for years to come, We got one year.”

One year is better than none. God bless the Dowd family. Mike Dowd also said-

“There’s going to be a lot of sad folks over this,” Mike Dowd said.

I’m betting there are a great many angry LPGA golfers because of this too.

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