The LPGA Championship, the 2nd longest-running event on the Tour’s schedule, is ending three decades of play in Rochester today. It’s a bittersweet ending. The Championship has poured hundreds of thousands of dollars into local charities that partner in the United Way’s Graduation is the Goal initiative to prevent at-risk youth from dropping out of school. The Rochester community has embraced and enfolded the event and the players, and over the years the LPGA Championship has taken on the aura of an annual family reunion. As with all family reunions, the parting is filled with fond memories.
As the players take the tee for the final time at the LPGA Championship, Juli Inkster, Stacy Lewis, Suzann Pettersen, and others speak for the entire field as they thank the Rochester community for its years of support.
Inevitably, with growth comes change. Looking forward, through a newly forged collaboration with the PGA and KPMG sponsorship, the LPGA Championship will re-emerge in 2015 as the KPMG Women’s PGA Championship. The debut, June 8-14, 2015, at the Westchester Country Club in Rye, New York, will carry a $3.5 million purse, the highest in women’s pro golf, and will include a ground-breaking women’s leadership summit.
Be certain that the Tour will provide a cymbal-crashing crescendo of an ending to this championship for their Rochester fans. Brittany Lincicome and Suzann Pettersen are going to battle it out, both players intent on notching their first 2014 victory. Inbee Park will do her best to claim mastery of the tricky greens on the Monroe Golf Club track. Mirim Lee and Gerina Piller and Lydia Ko and Meena Lee are all within reach of the top of the board and they’re all capable of delivering a round in the low-60s that could take them to the top and put a major championship on their resume.
Rochester will not be disappointed with Sunday’s finale round to the LPGA Championship, nor will fans following the round on television. Golf Channel coverage begins today at 3pm, as the final group tees off.