Portland, Oregon---Once people go to the annual LPGA stop in the Portland, Oregon metro area, they continue to go back for years. In my opinion, the LPGA stop in Portland each summer is Oregon's best sporting event to attend. It also is approaching its 50th anniversary in three years. But will we see the 50th anniversary?
Just a little about the event if you are new to Oregon or have never gone. You can get in free, you can get many free gifts from vendors, you can park at the front door, you can chat with the players, who actually smile and you will see some great golf. You will also see plenty of charities very happy, with big checks given to them each year from Tournament Golf Foundation.
Now for the bad part. As of now, long time sponsor Safeway has not renewed to be the title sponsor in 2013 and they appear to be in no hurry to do so. The name for 2013 has gone from Safeway Classic, to "Portland Classic, presented by Safeway". Presented can mean many things in the wacky world of sports business. And do not knock Safeway, they have given so much time and effort to this event for years.
Not only does the tournament not have a title sponsor, it also as of now does not have a golf course. Nothing officially has been reached to return the LPGA event to Pumpkin Ridge in North Plains, Oregon, where the tournament has been held since 2009, after a long run at legendary Columbia-Edgewater on the Columbia River in North Portland.
Even scarier, when you go to lpga.com, not only is no golf course for 2013 talked about, you can't buy tickets as of now and it just seems like there is a cloud hanging overhead.
This I can tell you with 100 percent certainty. The group that puts on the LPGA Tour stop in Oregon, Tournament Golf Foundation can only be described as total class. They work like crazy, to help so many charities, to bring Oregon not only a great golf event, but now an iconic sporting event. Even though I am worried cause of the importance of this event to so many people, my strong feeling is these great men and women of TGF will get this figured out for 2013.
I can also tell you, sources have told me that the event has been "unofficially" shopped around to other golf venues in the Portland, Oregon area to host for 2013. No title sponsor, no golf course to play, it does mean something on February 10th, for a major sports event which is coming up a little over six months away. Is it time to panic? No. Is there concern? If not, there sure should be.
My thinking is this year will work, but I really want to be present at the 50th anniversary of this sports legend. And I might not get the chance, unless things start to move more quickly. I wish everyone the best on this, cause everyone associated with this event including fans deserve it.