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Published: Wednesday, 9/2/2009

Farr LPGA event back in Sylvania for 2010, purse to be $1M


The 2010 Jamie Farr Owens Corning Classic, presented by Kroger, will be held June 28-July 4 at Highland Meadows Golf Club in Sylvania, tournament officials announced at a press conference Wednesday afternoon.

The Farr Classic and the LPGA Tour agreed to a one-year contract to extend a tournament that has been held 25 times previously.

Tournament director Judd Silverman said the purse for the 2010 tournament would be $1 million, a reduction of $400,000 from the 2009 event held this past July.

"We are excited to be able to continue the tradition of bringing the finest women's golfers in the world to northwest Ohio along with the opportunity to raise money for several local children's charities," Silverman said. "We are grateful to Owens Corning and Kroger for their continued commitment, especially during this difficult economic climate."

From previous editions of toledoblade.com

An LPGA player revolt hatched here in early July apparently paved the way for the professional golf tour's return to the Toledo area in 2010.

Toledo Classic Inc., which operates the Jamie Farr Owens Corning Classic, has scheduled an afternoon news conference today to announce an extension of its agreement with the LPGA Tour.

A source familiar with the negotiations indicated it will be a one-year contract that assures the tournament will be staged in 2010. No details on playing dates or purse were made available.

Tournament director Judd Silverman said he would not comment prior to the news conference, which is to be held at the tournament's office on Dorr Street.

The Farr Classic, which celebrated its 25th anniversary this past July at Highland Meadows Golf Club, was one of seven U.S.-based tour stops operating without contracts beyond 2009. One of them, the long-standing Corning Classic in Corning, N.Y., announced it was permanently ceasing operations after the event concluded May 24. It had been an annual stop for the tour since 1979.

That brought the total to seven tournaments lost by the LPGA since the start of 2007. There are several others with contracts beyond 2009 that are threatened by a lack of sponsorship.

After the conclusion of the 2009 Farr Classic on July 5, the tour went without a full-field event, open to all tour members, on U.S. soil until last week's Safeway Classic in North Plains, Ore. Other than the limited-field Solheim Cup competition, that was the only LPGA Tour event scheduled during the month of August.

As many as 15 prominent LPGA players met at Mancy's Restaurant in Toledo during the Farr Classic to discuss the tour's plight.

Judd Silverman, tournament director, says the Farr Classic has raised over $6.2 million for children's charities. Judd Silverman, tournament director, says the Farr Classic has raised over $6.2 million for children's charities.

Some signed a letter sent to the LPGA board of directors calling for the resignation or removal of commissioner Carolyn Bivens, whose business practices were blamed for many of the tour's economic and scheduling woes.

Just over a week later, on July 13, Ms. Bivens resigned and was replaced on an interim basis by LPGA board member Marsha Evans, a retired rear admiral in the U.S. Navy.

Prior to Ms. Bivens' resignation, Farr Classic officials privately seemed dubious that a future contract could be negotiated.

Ms. Bivens seemed intent on making greater financial demands on tournament sponsors during a difficult economic climate.

The LPGA apparently has softened its stance under Ms. Evans.

The Wegmans LPGA, a 33-year-old tournament held in Rochester, N.Y., broke off negotiations with the LPGA during its event in late June. But on Aug. 26, Wegmans and the tour announced a new three-year contract with options for additional one-year extensions.

Now, the Farr Classic, which began negotiations with the LPGA less than one month ago, is about to follow suit, if only for one year.

It is expected that Toledo Classic Inc. will announce that Owens Corning will remain the title sponsor and that the event will again be held at Highland Meadows in Sylvania.

The Farr Classic, which began in 1984 at the former Glengarry Country Club, has raised about $6.2 million dollars for local children's charities.

That figure does not include net revenue for the 2009 tournament, which has yet to be finalized, according to Mr. Silverman.

Eunjung Yi won the July event, defeating Morgan Pressel in a one-hole playoff.

Contact Dave Hackenberg at: dhack@theblade.com or 419-724-6398.

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