LPGA Considering Legal Action Against Event Organizers in Hawaii

By: Dave Andrews

The LPGA says it is considering legal action in the wake of news that the local organizers of the Kapalua LPGA Classic have cancelled the scheduled October event. In a surprising announcement on Wednesday, the Kapalua Land Company said it has been unable to attract a title sponsor for the $1.5 million tournament, which had been slated for mid-October at the Kapalua Resort on the island of Maui. It would have been the second of five planned annual events under a five-year contract with the LPGA.

"It's disappointing but a reality in today's current economic climate that title sponsorships are difficult to secure," said Gary Planos, senior vice president of Resort Operations for Kapalua Land Company. "We greatly enjoyed hosting last year's event and value our partnership with the LPGA Tour and its players."

The LPGA issued a statement on Wednesday in which it raised the possibility of taking the Kapalua event organizers to court for breach of contract: "The organizers of the Kapalua LPGA Classic have informed us that they will not honor the remaining four years of their five-year contract to host an annual LPGA event through 2012," said LPGA Deputy Commissioner, Libba Gallaway.

"We are extremely disappointed with their decision not to conduct the October 2009 event, and we will vigorously enforce all our legal rights under the contract due to this breach. While we understand the difficulties faced by all businesses due to the recession, the Kapalua Land Company, the contract holder, is continuing to conduct business. We are extremely confident that we will be successful in pursuit of our legal remedies."

News of the cancellation is the latest blow to the LPGA's 2009 schedule, which has already lost a handful of other events this year due to sponsorship problems brought on by the recession. Next year's LPGA schedule also has several holes in it and several events that are coming up for contract renewal. Earlier this year, McDonald's announced it will no longer sponsor the LPGA Championship, one of the tour's major events. The LPGA is also looking for a new site for that event in 2010.

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 http://popsandsunshine.com.