News & ToursOctober 3, 2009

An ominous sign for the LPGA

On the surface, it appeared as though the LPGA last week took two steps forward and one step backward. But did the tour in fact make progress with the news that two sponsors re-upped and one is terminating its relationship?

By extending their sponsorships, State Farm and Navistar set a positive tone for the week that was later tempered by the news that it had lost Samsung as a sponsor.

Samsung's loss was a foreboding blow for a tour that still has only 18 tournaments on its 2010 schedule. For starters, Marty Evans, the LPGA's acting commissioner, told the Golf Channel that it caught the tour by surprise.

Moreover, Samsung is a Korean company that since 1995 has been a sponsor on a tour that has come to be dominated by Koreans. A Korean, in fact, won the recent Samsung World Championship, 21-year-old Na Yeon Choi.

As important as women's golf has become in Korea, it seems that losing a Korean sponsor at least offsets the good news represented by a pair of domestic sponsors renewing their sponsorship deals.

-- John Strege

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