LPGA Tour Event Safeway Classic to Keep Title Sponsor for Next Year

December 6, 2011

The Safeway Classic, an LPGA Tour golf tournament has secured the grocery chain as title sponsor of next year’s event.

The one-year extension will get Tournament Golf Foundation (TGF), who runs the event, through the 2012 tournament. TGF president Tom Maletis said TGF will meet with Safeway officials next year, probably before the event, to discuss the tournament’s future beyond  2012.

“We just wanted to get 2012 set up,” Maletis said. “Our goal is to sit down a little earlier and hammer out a longer-term agreement. That’s what we both want to do.”

The 2012 Safeway Classic will be played Aug. 17-19. TGF has not finalized a deal with Pumpkin Ridge Golf Club to hold the tournament on its Ghost Creek course — where it has been played the last three years — but is expected to do so.

Pumpkin Ridge officials have said they like having the tournament, which helps keep the 36-hole facility in the public eye. The tournament’s 2009 move to the North Plains course has produced the three biggest attendance counts in tournament history, topped by the record crowd of 88,100 it drew this year.

“They’ve been happy, and Tournament Golf Foundation has been very happy, and it’s just the formality of setting up the agreements,” Maletis said. “It’s been a win-win for both parties.”

The tournament’s purse will remain at $1.5 million for the third consecutive year after it was dropped from the $1.7 million it was at from 2007 to 2009.

Safeway has sponsored the tournament event since 1996, initially using a three-year rolling contract in which the grocer, at the conclusion of each year’s staging, would agree to add an additional year. That arrangement lasted until 2008, when Safeway opted to make 2011 an option year. Ai Miyazato won the 2010 tournament.

Michael Minasi, president of Safeway Marketing, said: “Safeway is pleased to be a part of the LPGA tour once again in 2012. The Safeway Classic provides our company with unique marketing opportunities with our customers and suppliers, while raising significant money for local children’s charities in Oregon through the Safeway Foundation.”