LPGA and Kentucky Officials Talk of a Tour Stop
It seems Kentucky’s interested in hosting a professional women’s golf tournament and the L-P-G-A is interested in coming to Kentucky. Ally Kicklighter is senior communications coordinator for the Ladies Professional Golf Association. “On the LPGA level, we’re always looking for different markets and always looking for opportunities for more tournaments,” said Kicklighter. Matt Sawyers is a deputy secretary in the Kentucky Tourism, Arts, and Heritage Cabinet. “Well yes, there is interest in bringing an LPGA tour event here,” said Sawyers.
Both groups indicate their discussions remain preliminary, but talks have gone on for some time. Sawyers says a top priority is finding a title sponsor who will help fund a professional golf tournament.
“We think it’s going to be a good opportunity for whatever corporate entity wants to pick up on it, but it’s really kind of bringing everything together at the same time. We need to have a community that supports it. We need to have a local organizing group. And usually you need local government support too. So, we’re trying to get all of this wrapped up at the same time,” added Sawyers.
Sawyers says multiple communities in Kentucky are interested in hosting an L-P-G-A event. As with any major sporting event, he says it’s also a question of weighing tournament costs with economic benefits..
“This is a good event for one of our communities and it will have a strong economic impact and we’re gonna pitch it that way and it’s fairly self evident. When you get the top line competition of any major sports organization and the LPGA is the oldest women’s sporting in the country, so it kind of sells itself,” explained Sawyers.
Currently, the L-P-G-A tour includes 27 tournaments. The L-P-G-A’s Ally Kicklighter lives in Florida but played college golf at the University of Kentucky. Kicklighter says nothing in that tournament schedule would prevent a stop in the Commonwealth..
“I mean there’s always room for more. We’re always looking to build a schedule. You know finding a place for a tournament is never an issue,” said Kicklighter.
This year, during the Kentucky Derby, state officials met with the L-P-G-A’s Chief Executive Officer. Zayra Calderon was reportedly very interested in seeing their tour stop in Kentucky.