Increased prize money could be factor in tourney’s futureWritten by Gail Burkhardt | | firstname.lastname@example.org
Organizers, sponsors and members of the LPGA Tour are in talks to continue the Jamie Farr Owens Corning Classic after the tournament’s contract expires this year.
In 2009, the LPGA Tour extended the Farr Classic’s contract for just the 2010 tournament, which will take place June 28 to July 4 at Highland Meadows Golf Club in Sylvania. The tournament’s director, Judd Silverman, and the LPGA Tour’s chief communications officer, David Higdon, said they would like to keep the Farr Classic on the LPGA Tour.
“I don’t think we have to offer [the LPGA Tour] any incentives. We’re in the process of trying to work out a win-win situation like we have been in the previous 26 years and I’m confident we’ll be able to do so,” Silverman said.
Still, the LPGA Tour is looking for certain terms from the Farr Classic such as a televised event and more playing opportunities, which could include an increase in the prize money, Higdon said.
“We’re trying to make it work for the sponsors and the city,” he said.
Because of the economy, the Farr Classic did have to make cuts this year, including eliminating ESPN2 coverage and decreasing the prize money, or purse, from $1.4 million to $1 million. However, the Classic will still donate $300,000 to 11 local children’s charities, Silverman said.
The tournament’s expenses are at $3.3 million and Silverman said he hopes the classic will gain $3.6 million to $3.7 million in revenue from sponsorships, ticket sales and advertisement sales.
The purse at Jamie Farr is the lowest out of all of this summer’s LPGA tournaments, according to purse figures listed on the LPGA’s website.
The purse decreased because the classic’s main sponsors, Owens Corning and The Kroger Co. were not able to donate as much money as in previous years, Silverman said.
Kroger donated the same amount of money, but allocated more to local charities and less to the purse this year, said Cheryl McCormick, public affairs manager for the Kroger Columbus division.
Owens Corning allocated less money for the tournament because of the economy, said Jason Saragian, a spokesman for the glass fiber company. Neither company would comment on future sponsorship of the Jamie Farr classic.
Higdon said a decision about next year probably will not be made until after this year’s event.
“Sometimes there’s a lot of pressure during the week of the tournament to make an announcement. It’s very difficult to come to a conclusion in discussions during the week of a tournament,” he said.