Changes Continue on LPGA Tour

By: Dave Andrews

The LPGA announced Wednesday it has lost another event on its 2009 schedule. The Bell Micro LPGA Classic in Mobile, Ala., will not be played in October as scheduled. The tournament has been rescheduled to April of next year.

The tour and officials from Bell Micro and the Crossings Course at Magnolia Grove where the event was to be played say the decision was made to allow the venue to continue with facility and course enhancements. The delay will give the course more time to mature after a $5.1 million remodel.

The April date also better suits Bell Micro, according to LPGA Commissioner, Carolyn Bivens, who said: "While it's tough for LPGA players to miss a playing opportunity this year, this date shift provides the tournament with its best chance for long-term success."

The LPGA and Bell Micro both say they are honoring the remaining two years of their three-year contract. The Bell Micro LPGA Classic was held for the first time last year. "The Bell Micro LPGA Classic in Mobile was a great success for our company. We hosted many of our top customers and vendors throughout the week," Don Bell, president and CEO of Bell Microproducts, was quoted in the LPGA press release.

He went on to say: "We are excited about our continued partnership with the LPGA and are pleased with our new tournament date of April 2010. The tournament move to the spring is a more favorable time of year for our customers and vendors. We look forward to welcoming the LPGA back to the Bell Micro LPGA Classic in the spring of 2010."

While the economy was not cited as the reason for the loss of the Alabama event this season, the LPGA, like other tours, has been affected by the nation's economic downturn. The tour has lost three other events that it had scheduled for 2009. Financial problems with the sponsors of those events were the reasons cited for their loss.

There are also questions about the status of the Stanford Tour Championship, scheduled for Houston in November. The title sponsor, Stanford Financial Group, is currently under investigation by the FBI in a multi-billion-dollar investor fraud case. The SEC has filed civil charges against Sir Allen Stanford, the company's CEO, accusing him of orchestrating an $8 billion fraud on investors. A federal judge ordered the seizure of the company's assets while the investigations continue.

Dave Andrews is a Harvard-educated former television news reporter. He's also an avid golfer who has become a fan of the Duramed Futures Tour. His home course in Concord, N.H., is annually the site of one of the tour's events. The inspiration for Dave's 2007 novel, "Pops and Sunshine," came from meeting many of the young aspiring women golfers on that tour. Each of them has a passion, dedication and determination that he finds remarkable. His novel is a fictionalization of the dream that these young women share. To order Dave's book, visit