Thursday, July 10, 2008

Phoenix LPGA Event Update

In the AZ Republic, John Davis gives the latest.

Hopes remain high, but the confidence level of finding a new sponsor for the Valley's LPGA Tour event has slipped a few notches in the midst of a struggling economy.

Since the Safeway International ended in March at Superstition Mountain Golf and Country Club, tournament officials have been "pounding the pavement" in search of a new title sponsor.

That doesn't sound good, but Tom Maletis seems undeterred.

"I was more confident of finding a new sponsor when the announcement first came out (that Safeway was pulling out)," said Tom Maletis, president of Tournament Golf Foundation, Inc., which owns the event. "But the way the economy has gone, people are really scrutinizing an expenditure of that level much more closely.

"I'm optimistic because it is a proven event, but not optimistic about things outside of our control, like the economy and where these potential sponsors are going to spend their money."

Maletis said Wednesday that the foundation, based in Portland, Ore., has submitted "three solid proposals to companies all in a financial position to become a title sponsor." He declined to identify the companies.

In all honesty, I'm not sure if that means that these companies are interested or these are unsolicited proposals. Then, Maletis mentions the dreaded real estate sponsorship potential. (NO!)

Superstition Mountain, near Gold Canyon, wants to continue as the host course, but Maletis said there are no guarantees of that, even if a new sponsor emerges.

"You never know what kind of offer might come along," Maletis said. "For example, if a resort hotel chain came along and made a sponsorship offer, they probably would want to showcase their own property and I certainly can appreciate that.

"I know Superstition would like to keep us there, but there could be a scenario where that doesn't happen. Our main concern is to do everything we can to bring the LPGA back to the Valley in '09."

But, if that's what it takes to keep this event alive then I guess they have to do it.

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