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LPGA will be missed in Rochester

Rochester, N.Y. -- The 2014 LPGA Championship in Rochester will be the last.

The tournament is leaving town, putting an end to a 38-year partnership.

The LPGA is expected to make the official announcement Thursday, but Danny Wegman, CEO of Wegmans, which sponsors the tournament, confirmed the move Wednesday.

"We're going to miss it, that's for sure," Wegman said.

Next year, after playing host for nearly 40 years, Rochester will lose its spot on the list of women's professional golf tour stops. The tournament is expected to rotate between various sites downstate in the New York City area.

"Things can't always go on forever, and we certainly feel badly about it," Wegman said.

Wegman said he was not part of the decision, and it's all about economics.

"Ladies golf just doesn't produce a lot of money, so it doesn't produce a lot of sponsors and there is no money to keep putting on tournaments," he said. "That's the real issue behind it, and it's unfortunate, but that's just the way it goes."

While it wasn't the biggest or best tournament on the tour, local golfers said Rochester and the LPGA shared an important history.

"For it to just all of the sudden just be dropped from being a major stop to being nonexistent, it's something that I didn't want to see happen," said golf fan Brian Gibbons. "But I guess the writing has been on the wall."

Locust Hill Country Club hosted LPGA events for 37 years, the last four being majors. After returning to the same course year after year, the LPGA moved the local tour stop to another course in the Rochester area for this year.

The 2014 Wegmans LPGA Championship will be held at Monroe Golf Club in Pittsford. It will be the club's first and likely Rochester's last major LPGA tournament.

The Aug. 14-17 event will mark of end of Rochester's 38-year run.

"I think it will be sadly missed by the fans and certainly lots of businesses in town," said Paula Liebschutz while hitting balls at a driving range.

A hole in the local economy, the loss of the LPGA will also cut funds raised for charities during the event.

The love of the game will remain strong, but Gibbons said Rochester has lost part of its legacy in sports without the LPGA.

"We've had such a great turnout for years and years, but, you know, I think a lot of professionals don't play it for the money," Gibbons said. "It's for the love of the game."

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Washington Times