CORNING, N.Y., May 18, 2009 – In appreciation of the support and dedication the Corning community has provided the LPGA for more than 30 years, LPGA Commissioner Carolyn Bivens and a host of LPGA players and other dignitaries gathered today at the Corning Country Club to announce that the organization will present the community and Country Club with a commemorative bench and golf course marker.
The granite bench, which will be permanently displayed in the Riverfront Centennial Park, located in downtown Corning, NY, is inscribed with the message: “Thanks to the Corning community for 31 great years. We appreciate your commitment, passion and loyalty.”
A similarly designed commemorative granite mark that lists all former champions (illustration above) along with this year’s champion will be a gift to the tournament organizers and permanently placed at the Corning Country Club.
“The Corning community, tournament organizers and Country Club have been incredibly welcoming to the LPGA and all of our players,” said Bivens, who presented graphic illustrations of the commemorative gifts today to Corning Mayor Tom Reed, Corning Incorporated executive Kirk Gregg and tournament chairman Jack Benjamin. “The many great memories that we all have shared here will be remembered forever. We look forward to celebrating the tournament’s legacy throughout the week, so let’s make this year’s edition of the LPGA Corning Classic the best ever.”
This is the 31st year the LPGA Corning Classic has been played, and the Corning Country Club has been the home course each of those years. The event has had 28 different winners, with only two players having ever won the tournament twice. Of the many different champions, eight of those are now in the prestigious LPGA and World Golf Halls of Fame.
Since the first year the LPGA Corning Classic was played, more than $5 million has been paid out to the event’s beneficiaries – Twin Tiers area hospitals, the Rotary Club Camp STAR Program, the Lions Club Sight Preservation services, the First Tee of Corning, and the George Douglas Scholarship Fund.
Paula Creamer: I can’t say enough about the tournament and the volunteers. My Grandpa gets to come and watch me at Corning. He’s 91 years old, and the volunteers take such good care of him. It’s a big feat for him to get to the tournament and everyone has been so gracious with him.”
Young Kim: “When I won the tournament in Corning 2007, it was the biggest cheer I’ve ever heard. For such a small town, the cheers were so loud. The city of Corning may be a small city on the map, but in my heart, it’s one of the biggest and best cities I’ve ever been to.”
Meg Mallon: “During my rookie year, my oldest sister had never seen me play golf professionally. I left her tickets and she showed up on the third hole with her three-year-old son and I was just mortified. But every volunteer on every hole took care of him and he didn’t make a peep all day. It’s always a complete community effort in Corning. We’ve embraced them and they embraced us.”
Christina Kim: “One of the best things about Corning is the tomato bisque they serve at lunch time. Between that and the birthday cakes in the locker room and so much more, the entire Corning community has become part of our extended family. Everything about it is fantastic.”
Helen Alfredsson: “It’s a fun place. In Corning you get that feeling of home. It’s one of those old courses where the tees are close to the greens. Everyone enjoys having us there.”
U.S. Solheim Cup captain and 1994 Corning Classic champion Beth Daniel: “Corning and I started together; 1979 was my first year and it was also Corning’s first year. One year I was asked to judge the decorated storefronts downtown. We walked up and down the town judging the shop decorations. That’s what is unique about Corning; everyone gets into it. They have the scoreboard downtown. Of course, winning the tournament was very special. I love Corning, the tournament and I’ve always loved playing there.”