Event's schedule change causes rift for LPGA

Published July 18, 2006

GALLOWAY TOWNSHIP, N.J. - Upset about an LPGA Tour schedule change, organizers of the ShopRite LPGA Classic are considering suing to keep the tournament's place on the tour calendar, event executive director Ruthie Harrison said Monday.

LPGA Tour officials announced earlier in the day that the $2.6-million Ginn Tribute Hosted by Annika Sorenstam will be played May 31-June 3 at RiverTowne Country Club in Mount Pleasant, S.C. That's the same weekend the ShopRite Classic has been held the past two years, and the one organizers planned on using through 2008.

"We believe that we have a binding agreement that ensures our date on the LPGA schedule through 2008, and we intend to take any and all steps, including legal action if necessary, to enforce that agreement," Harrison said.

LPGA Tour officials had offered about a half-dozen other potential dates for the ShopRite, but organizers said they were unacceptable.

Two were in April, which they say is impractical because the Seaview Resort & Spa course can't be ready in time because of winter weather. Another potential date was deemed unacceptable because it would put the event opposite the men's U.S. Open. A fourth would have sandwiched it between LPGA Tour stops in Mexico and California.

"We have been a loyal and valued partner to the LPGA for more than 20 years," Harrison said. "The ShopRite Classic has contributed more than $20-million in fees and purses, and more than $12-million in charitable contributions during that time. To say we are disappointed and upset with the manner in which this has been handled by the commissioner is an understatement."

LPGA commissioner Carolyn Bivens said the tour had offered ShopRite eight possible dates for 2007 and was awaiting a decision. "We have every intention to continue our discussions with the Harrisons and to work together for many years," she said, referring to Harrison and her husband, Classic general chairman Larry Harrison.

SENIOR AMATEUR: The Senior Amateur Match Play Championship moves to the quarterfinals today at Cypress Run Golf Club in Tarpon Springs. In the championship flight, Bruce Scamehorn of Winter Haven faces Edward Craig of Orlando, Bob Ethridge of Plantation plays Fred Peel of Chipley, Berger Warner of Ocala plays Brian Hawke of Temple Terrace and Neil Carter of Citrus Springs plays Frank Saxon of Mulberry. For tee times, pairings and complete results, go to www.fsga.org.