Navistar Ends Sponsorship of LPGA Classic

The future of Ladies Professional Golf Association (LPGA) golf tournament at the Robert Trent Jones (RTJ) Golf Trail in Prattville, Alabama is at risk after title sponsor Navistar withdrew from the event.

The golf event has been held at the Senator Course at the RTJ Capitol Hill facility from 2007-12.

“Navistar has been proud to be the lead sponsor of the Navistar LPGA Classic for the last six years and we’ve maintained a strong relationship with both the LPGA and the Robert Trent Jones Golf Trail,” Navistar spokesman Stephen Schrier said in a news release.

“However, our current business climate requires a reduction of our sponsorship activities, including our sponsorship of the Navistar LPGA Classic.”

Stacy Lewis, who this year became the first American to win the LPGA’s Player of the Award since 1994, won this year’s tournament in September by two shots over teen-ager Lexi Thompson.

According to LPGA Chief Communications Officer Kraig Kann, the LPGA is working on continuing the event in Prattville in 2013.

“The LPGA appreciates and applauds all that Navistar has done to support the Tour and Alabama. While they won’t return to partner with us in 2013, to say that the LPGA, the Robert Trent Jones Trail, and RSA won’t return to Prattville next year is premature, stated Kann.

“We’re all committed to continuing the tradition of women’s professional golf in Alabama and the city of Prattville and are working together to deliver on those goals in 2013.”

Robert Trent Jones Golf Trail at Capitol Hill, site of LPGA Classic

The SunBelt Golf Corporation and the Robert Trent Golf Trail is in search of a new event sponsor.

Jonathan Romeo, tournament sponsor and SunBelt Golf Corporation Director of Business Development, is in Florida for the LPGA annual tournament owners and director’s meeting.

When asked recently what type of sponsors they might be looking at, Romeo stated, “The LPGA is a world brand and it takes a world company to get the benefit of everything and there are a lot of those here.”

“We are working on a daily basis with the LPGA and with business in the state of Alabama and have for 12 years in a row,” said John Cannon, Sunbelt Golf Corporation President.

“We are working on these events and actually pursuing a new title sponsor and committed, if possible, to continue doing an LPGA event both in Mobile and Prattville.

“We can’t do it ourselves. It requires community and business involvement to make it happen.”

When asked what the deadline would be to have a title sponsor for an event to played in 2013, Cannon indicated that you would get a different answer depending on who you asked.

“In an ideal world, the LPGA would like some answers now,” Cannon said.

The LPGA traditionally announces its partial or full event schedule for the upcoming year in November.

The SunBelt Corporation said it is committed to pro golf in the state but would not rush into anything moving forward.

“We’re not going to jump into a commitment without knowing we can accomplish it and do the event the way we have done it,” Cannon said.

“It’s an expensive proposition. We are working with third parties and groups that have not done something with us.”

Runner up in 2012, Lexi Thompson won the title in 2011

Romeo said the event costs about $3.5 to $4 million annually. According to a study conducted by the Prattville Area Chamber of Commerce, the event has a $7 million impact on the region.

Details

Robert Trent Jones Golf Trail

The Robert Trent Jones Golf Trail is a collection of championship caliber golf courses, designed by Robert Trent Jones, Sr., distributed across the state of Alabama, as part of investments by the Retirement Systems of Alabama. The Trail started with 378 holes at eight sites throughout the state, and has grown to 468 holes at eleven sites.

The concept was created and executed by Dr. David Bronner, CEO of the Retirement Systems of Alabama.

Website: rtjgolf.com

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Navistar LPGA Classic Goes Ahead as Scheduled

Navistar LPGA Classic will go ahead as scheduled—from September 20-23 in Prattville, Alabama—despite a shakeup in the Navistar management.

The news of shakeup in the Navistar’s upper management triggered concerns of the Ladies Professional Golf Association (LPGA) officials and players as they wondered what impact the management shakeup would have on one of the most prestigious LPGA tournaments, bettor.com reported.

Now that the company has undergone the change in senior management, the LPGA officials are keen to announce that the Navistar LPGA Classic will not be hurt, and it will be held according to its schedule.

Although players are happy to see the tournament’s schedule intact, the Navistar officials said that they will definitely be coming up with new plans regarding the sponsorship of the LPGA event for the future.

Navistar, which has been operating for years and boasts a massive presence in the market, was troubled by its engine strategy that put a drag on the company’s profitability.

Under pressure due to failure of the engine strategy, the CEO Daniel Ustian announced his immediate retirement.

Despite being hit by operational issues, the Navistar management responded quickly to the growing concerns of LPGA stars and officials, saying the tournament will remain intact.

Robert Trent Jones Golf Trail at Capitol Hill, site of Navistar LPGA Classic

However, the company’s officials did not tell what they plan to do about the future events of the tournament.

Steve Schrier, a spokesman for the Navistar, said the company’s officials are glad that they are going to stage another edition of the tournament and hope for the best.

“Dan Ustian’s retirement from Navistar will have no impact on our plans for this year’s Navistar LPGA Classic and we look forward to another great event in September,” Schrier said.

“We are currently re-evaluating all of our sponsorship initiatives, including our investment in the LPGA. We have developed a long-standing partnership with the LPGA and the team at (the) Robert Trent Jones (golf course) and we will provide clarity on future commitments later this year.”

The spokesman pointed out that the company wants to stick to Prattville in future as well, as most of the LPGA stars like the course.

Details

Navistar
Navistar International Corporation is a holding company whose subsidiaries and affiliates produce International brand commercial and military trucks, MaxxForce brand diesel engines, IC Bus brand school and commercial buses, Monaco RV brands of recreational vehicles, and Workhorse brand chassis for motorhomes and step vans. The company also provides truck and diesel engine service parts. Another affiliate offers financing services.

Website: navistar.com

Navistar LPGA Classic

Lexi Thompson returns to defend her 2011 title

The Navistar LPGA Classic is partnering with the Wounded Warrior Project to honor all those serving in the military. WWP’s mission is to “honor and empower wounded warriors” of the United States Armed Forces.

Website: navistarlpgaclassic.com

Robert Trent Jones Golf Trail

The Robert Trent Jones Golf Trail is a collection of championship caliber golf courses, designed by Robert Trent Jones, Sr., distributed across the state of Alabama, as part of investments by the Retirement Systems of Alabama. The Trail started with 378 holes at eight sites throughout the state, and has grown to 468 holes at eleven sites.

The concept was created and executed by Dr. David Bronner, CEO of the Retirement Systems of Alabama.

Two of the courses currently host events on the LPGA Tour: The Senator course at Capitol Hill, which hosts the Navistar LPGA Classic, and The Crossings course at Magnolia Grove, home to the Avnet LPGA Classic.

Website: rtjgolf.com

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