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PGA Tour Sues Ginn Resorts

January 29, 2009

(AP) -- The PGA Tour sued Ginn Resorts on Friday, citing breach of contract after the real estate company dropped sponsorship of the Champions Tour Ginn Championship.

Ginn announced on Wednesday it was ending all golf sponsorships immediately, including the Champions Tour event and the LPGA's Ginn Open.

"We regret having to take this legal action, but feel we have no other recourse than to try to recover what had been guaranteed to our members through existing agreements with Ginn Companies," PGA Tour spokesman Ty Votaw said in a statement.

Ginn still had three years remaining on its title sponsorship contract with the Champions Tour and had planned a $2.5 million purse for 2009.

The lawsuit was filed in Florida and was first reported by the Florida Times-Union.

Ginn said late last year that it was dropping the PGA Tour's sur Mer Classic because of the ailing real estate market. But the LPGA event in Reunion, Fla., and the Champions Tour stop in Palm Coast, Fla., were both to be played on Ginn courses.

"We also had no forewarning that Ginn was planning to cancel the 2009 Ginn Championship at Hammock Beach, and only learned of the decision when the company issued a release late Wednesday," Votaw said. "In fact, we had been in discussions with them on possible modifications to the agreement."

Ryan Julison, spokesman for Ginn in Celebration, Fla., said the company does not comment on pending legislation.

Last week, Ginn ended its real estate sales and marketing operations "due to the loss of revenue" that was the primary source of funding the purses and buying television coverage for the LPGA and Champions Tour events.

"We did the best we could, but the economy got the best of us," Robert Gidel, Ginn Development's president and CEO, told The Associated Press on Wednesday.