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Thursday, September 17, 2009

Time for Rolex to Help the LPGA

Golf Channel broke the news yesterday that Rolex, who has been a longtime supporter of the LPGA (they already sponsor the Rolex Women's World Ranking list and LPGA's Rolex Player of The Year Award), has stepped in to sponsor the LPGA Tour Championship in November.

This is a huge boost to the LPGA, as the year-end Tour Championship has the biggest purse of the year—$1.5 million dollars, with $1 million of that going to the winner. The host course will be the Houstonian Golf & Country Club, and it's the first time the LPGA has played at Houston in well over 20 years.

Things are finally starting to look up for the LPGA. This is yet another bit of good news for the Tour after losing 7 tournaments since 2007. The Rolex announcement follows the re-up of Wegmans and the renewal of the Jamie Farr Classic, both of which looked to be lost as recently as a few weeks ago.

One of the really smart moves that former commissioner Carolyn Bivens will be remembered for is the LPGA's new 10-year broadcast deal with Golf Channel beginning in 2010. The ability of their audience to actually know where and when tournaments will be broadcast, coupled with the renewed support of these sponsors, may finally give the LPGA the traction it needs to gain a wider audience. And to have a high-profile company like Rolex become an actual tournament sponsor may give the LPGA some extra capital in the eyes of the business community.

You can read more about the Rolex announcement here at the Golf365 blog, as well as in this post from the Houston Business Journal.

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