No LPGA Tour in Prattville for 2017 after Yokohama drops sponsor - Montgomery Alabama news.

No LPGA Tour in Prattville for 2017 after Yokohama drops sponsorship

(Source: WSFA 12 News) (Source: WSFA 12 News)
(Source: WSFA 12 News) (Source: WSFA 12 News)
(Source: WSFA 12 News) (Source: WSFA 12 News)

Anita Mays runs a hotel in Prattville and remembers full well the week she had during the LPGA Tour back in early summer.

"They came in and some of them pre-golfed ahead of time, before the tournament, and stuff like that," said Mays.

Mays found the news that the LPGA Tour won't be coming back disappointing.

"I was surprised because we've always done well," she said.

And she was not alone.

"Even though that's in Prattville, it is a River Region event and a lot of activities occur in Montgomery, so this is disappointing," said Montgomery Mayor Todd Strange.

We've learned that RTJ leaders had every reason to believe YOKOHAMA Tires would renew another three-year contract when the tour ended last May. By all accounts, the event had been a success but the company surprised everyone just a few days ago, saying it wanted to shift its focus more on international events.

That means there will be no LPGA Tour in 2017 in Prattville.

It typically costs a title sponsor a little more than $1 million to be part of a major golf tournament. RTJ organizers say they are cautiously 'optimistic' about the tour coming back in 2018. They're having discussions with at least four potential title sponsors right now. The LPGA Tour averaged around 10,000 spectators per year.

Prattville Mayor Bill Gillespie was not available to respond but we did hear from the Prattville Chamber of Commerce. Chamber President Patty VanderWal released the following statement:

While we are disappointed that the LPGA tournament will not be returning to the Prattville area in 2017, we have high hopes that the community has been showcased as a premier location for professional golf tournaments. The success of the Yokohama LPGA has set a strong foundation for the RTJ Golf Trail at Capitol Hill to secure another sustainable tournament in the near future. From a Chamber prospective, we look at this event as a way to promote our community to visitors from all over the United States. With that in mind, we see residual revenue from those who visited our community and the River Region during the tournament or perhaps viewed it on the Golf Channel and come back to experience the RTJ Golf Trail at Capitol Hill. Our community always rallied around these golf tournaments making the future even brighter for events such as this in Prattville and the River Region.

Copyright 2016 WSFA 12 News. All rights reserved.

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