Image by Flickr user danperry.comImage by 20080728annika.jpg Ginn is denying the rumors, but some say the Ginn Tribute, hosted by Annika Sorenstam, will be canceled due to the recent economic downturn.
Golf Digest reports from "multiple sources" that the LPGA's Ginn Tribute, hosted by Annika Sorenstam and held at RiverTowne Country Club in Mount Pleasant, is getting the axe. With a $2.6 million purse, the tournament is the second-biggest prize in women's golf in the U.S., tied with the Ginn Open in Orlando and behind only the U.S. Women's Open.
The Ginn Open is played in April and the Ginn Tribute comes after it, in May. Sources involved in broadcasting, tournament ownership and the LPGA said Ginn has pulled the plug on the Charleston event. The uncertainty expressed about the future after the Ginn Open also raises questions about the existence of all the Ginn tournaments after 2009.
"If I had to handicap the situation right now I would say that it is less than 50-50 that the Ginn Tribute will happen in 2009," LPGA commissioner Carolyn Bivens told Golf World at the Evian Masters. "That said, we will have a tournament to replace it."
Ginn has contractual obligations both to the LPGA and to NBC, which broadcasts the Ginn Tribute, for two more years. "We're having ongoing conversations with the Ginn organization and we hope to work things out amicably," Bivens said. "We also hope our broadcast partners, in this case NBC, are respected."
Ginn officials are denying the rumors, however, as Golf Digest continues:
"The [Ginn sur Mer] Classic [on the PGA Tour], the [Ginn] Championship [on the Champions Tour] and the Ginn Open are happening this year and next," said Ginn spokesman Ryan Julison. "After we get past the Ginn Open we don't know what the future holds."
From The Post and Courier:
The LPGA has said it has a spot on the 2009 schedule, June 4-7, the week prior to the LPGA Championship. But there has been much speculation about its future considering the uncertain real estate climate. The level of speculation elevated with Annika Sorenstam's announcement she would step back from competitive golf at the end of the year.