ROCHESTER, N.Y. (AP) — Call it a sign of the times — or simply a dollar sign.
The LPGA Tour and PGA of America announced Thursday that they have become partners in the Women's PGA Championship. The tournament will replace the LPGA Championship and be the first women's major run by the PGA of America starting in 2015 at Westchester Country Club in New York.
That means Rochester is off the schedule after the LPGA Championship in August as the LPGA Tour moves closer to New York City in an effort to increase worldwide exposure.
It's the third professional golf tournament upstate New York has lost in five years, leaving only the Senior Tour's Dick's Sporting Goods Open in Endicott.
The LPGA Corning Classic, which was the longest-running event on the ladies tour with the same title sponsor and played at Corning Country Club since its inception in 1979, ended in 2009. The tournament had an option for 2010, but Corning officials said the loss of over $500,000 in sponsorship revenue made it economically unfeasible to sustain it in the depressed economy.
The Turning Stone Resort Championship left the PGA Tour in 2010 after a four-year run, but money was not an issue. Turning Stone, which is owned by the Oneida Indian Nation of New York, was seeking an unencumbered date during the PGA Tour regular season, but a mutually acceptable date did not become available.
Officials from Wegmans Supermarkets, a sponsor of the Rochester ladies tournament for more than three decades and title sponsor since 1997, expressed sadness at the end of the tournament's long run and said there were no plans for Wegmans to sponsor any future LPGA Tour events. Higher purses and other factors will effectively double the cost for title sponsorship, the supermarket chain said.
"We are proud to have been a part of this tournament for 38 years, and to have brought the LPGA Championship to Rochester for the last five years," Wegmans vice president Bill Strassburg said. "While there is no denying this is great news for women's golf, Wegmans and the entire Rochester community will be sad to see the tournament move away."
Wegmans became the title sponsor when the Rochester International LPGA needed one in order to survive. In 2009, when the LPGA lost the title sponsor for the LPGA Championship, one of its premier events, Wegmans increased its financial commitment and brought the championship to Rochester.
The finale, with a purse of $2.25 million, will be played Aug. 14-17 at Monroe Golf Club.
KPMG will be the title sponsor of the new Women's PGA Championship and use the tournament week to host a major conference that brings together top female executives from business, politics, sports and society.