PITTSFORD, N.Y. (AP) — Cristie Kerr knows the LPGA Championship is going to feel different, not only because it's staged at a new golf course.
The LPGA Tour announced in May that the tournament was getting a new name, two big partners, a lot more exposure and a change in venue.
Hello KPMG. Goodbye Wegmans Food Markets, and goodbye to the greater Rochester area in upstate New York, a staunch supporter of women's golf since the 1970s.
Rest assured a few tears will be shed.
"I'm definitely sad if it is (the last time)," said Kerr, who won the 2010 LPGA Championship at Locust Hill Country Club by a record-breaking 12-stroke margin. "They knew they weren't going to get major status forever. All the players on the tour were hoping they would remain. It's one of the best tournaments on tour, even if they weren't a major. It's up to them, but that would be really sad."
Next year's tournament will be called the Women's PGA Championship. It will be the first women's major run by the PGA of America and will staged that season at Westchester Country Club in the northern suburbs of New York City. It will be televised on NBC during the weekend, only the second event on the schedule on network television.
Wegmans has been a sponsor of the LPGA's Rochester stop for more than three decades and became title sponsor of the regular tournament in 1997 when the event needed one to survive. In 2009, when the LPGA lost the title sponsor for the LPGA Championship, one of its majors, Wegmans brought the championship to Rochester to replace the area's regular event.
But higher purses and other factors will effectively double the cost for title sponsorship, too much for the supermarket chain to consider. The purse will increase in 2015 to $3.5 million, up from $2.25 million this year.
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