LPGA Corning Classic President Jack Benjamin said that over the past two to three years the tournament staff and Board have attempted to solicit new major sponsors, but have been unsuccessful. Benjamin said the Board consulted with officials of the tournament title sponsor, Corning Incorporated, and they jointly concluded that it was economically unfeasible to sustain the tournament beyond this year. Tournament officials and a representative of Corning Incorporated recently notified the LPGA that they would not exercise their option to run the event in 2010.
“This is a most difficult decision for all of us,” said Benjamin. “Everyone involved with the event is passionate about it and about the LPGA players who have been a part of it for more than three decades. But the realities are that the revenue opportunities in the marketplace will not support the components needed to successfully host a major event like this in our community moving forward.”
“The LPGA Corning Classic has been a significant part of this community since its inception 31 years ago,” said Kirk P. Gregg, Corning Incorporated’s executive vice president and chief administrative officer. “Corning has been proud to be the longest-continuing sponsor of an LPGA tournament. We will forever be grateful to the community and the LPGA for giving us this opportunity.”
“Corning Incorporated, the tournament organizers and the Corning community have been incredibly welcoming to the LPGA and all our players for more than three decades,” said LPGA Commissioner Carolyn F. Bivens. “The LPGA Corning Classic has hosted many of the LPGA’s rising stars all the way through to their hall of fame careers, embracing players, staff and caddies as part of the greater Corning family. We are keenly aware of the challenges presented by today’s economic environment and respect Corning’s decision to do what it feels is right for its company and community. We certainly are disappointed that the LPGA Corning Classic tradition will not continue beyond 2009, but we look forward to celebrating the tournament’s legacy at the event next month.”
Benjamin noted that the event will honor its commitment to local charities this year and is developing a program to provide support through 2011. All of the tournament’s standing contracts and agreements will also be honored.
“The tournament has had a great run,” said Benjamin. “We thank our legion of volunteers and sponsors for the past 31 years. While this will be our last tournament, we are committed to executing one of the finest women’s professional golf tournaments you will find on the LPGA Tour.”
Since the event’s first year, the LPGA Corning Classic has paid out more than $5 million to the event’s beneficiaries – Twin Tiers area hospitals, The Rotary Club Camp STAR program, the Lions Club Sight Preservation services, The First Tee, Corning, and the George Douglas Scholarship Fund.
Topics: Press Release