The Ladies' Professional Golf Association is releasing its official list of tournaments for the 2013 season, and the city of Prattville is not on the list. The absence may ultimately mean the long relationship between the city and the LPGA is over.
It was announced in 2012 that the LPGA's Prattville tournament would lose critical funding following Navistar's decision to pull out of the title sponsorship role after 6 years. The company is said to have spent more than a $1 million each year to sponsor the tour.
Corey Cantrell looked foward to the tour every fall. "It's always been a fun experience," said Cantrell who manage Chick-Fil-A. Like many local eateries in the River Region, the diner did well when the LPGA golfers came to town.
"I remember one time we had to call in extra help because we had such a big order," said Cantrell. There is hope.
John Cannon, President of the Robert Trent Jones Golf Trail, said discussions are ongoing with the LPGA and a potential sponsor to keep the tournament coming back to Prattville, possibly in the fall. City officials say there are two potential sponsors.
Cannon would not provide details of the discussion saying, "It would be premature to share any more details, but will do so when the timing is appropriate."
Cannon said that while the official LPGA 2013 list of events is now released, a slot is being held for a possible Prattville "if a title sponsor is finalized soon."
LPGA consistently brought in around 50,000 spectators who watched the best female golfers in the world. That kind of influx of people certainly helped local restaurants and hotels. The Golf Channel also beamed the tournament to the rest of the world, priceless advertising for Prattville and RTJ.
"I think it's way too early to say Prattville is completely out of the block," said Mayor Bill Gillespie.
The LPGA will still have a presence on the RTJ Golf Trail in 2013, regardless of Prattville's future. The Mobile Bay LPGA Classic has been scheduled for May 13–19 at Magnolia Grove in Mobile.
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