On October 14th LPGA Commissioner Carolyn Bivens made a sober announcement at an all Players meeting, ADT had pulled its sponsorship ending in 2008. Considered a top event, the ADT Championship featured a series of playoffs with a $1 million payoff to the winner. Lorena Ochoa was the event’s defending champion. ADT is the latest among several sponsors to pull out of the LPGA Tour. Safeway, Bobby Ginn and Fields have already chosen not to sponsor beyond this year. The SemGroup is also out after declaring bankruptcy.
Meanwhile, in addition to all of the sponsorship losses, the LPGA is quietly facing its biggest loss of the season – Annika. When Annika Sorenstam announced her retirement from Professional golf to ‘pursue other opportunities’ who knew that the economy would go into the tank. Her plans to develop her brand, academy, foundation and course design business may also be forced to retire, for the short term at least, while corporate sponsorship and investment dollars decline.
For the good of the game I hope she changes her mind and goes back to playing professionally as the LPGA and golf in general need her now more then ever.