Friday, October 17, 2008

It's Official: ADT Out!

Geoff Shackelford links to the press releases and Beth Ann Baldry's Golfweek piece confirming the rumors from 4 months ago that the ADT Championship's name and timing are up in the air, even if its format remains the same.

Sources tell Golfweek that Bivens hopes to move ADT to the beginning of the schedule in 2010. Players expressed concern about someone starting the season with $1 million thanks to one good round, a huge advantage to start the annual money-title race.

Beginning in 2009, Bivens told players that Stanford International will take ADT’s place at the end of the schedule as a stroke-play tournament, doing away with its current pro-am format. The tour championship will take place in Houston and will consist of a 120-player field. Bivens did not disclose the course.

I wonder if Baldry's sources were clear on whether the current McDonald's LPGA Championship (which the LPGS takes over in 2010) is what's being referred to in that last sentence. While I'm glad to hear the Stanford International will no longer be a pro-am, I'm wondering if Bivens isn't keeping a trump card up her sleeve, namely, my idea that the January kick-off ex-ADT event actually be the culmination of the previous season and its winnings count toward the previous season's winnings....

In any case, Pettersen's comments in her post-round interview on the ADT make a whole lot more sense now:

Q. ADT today announced they will not be extending sponsorship into next year; what is your reaction?

SUZANN PETTERSEN: I mean, ADT has been great the last couple of years, how they have built it up with the two seasons, like first half, second half, and people are trying to get into those spots. You want to be there and kind of play for that million dollar first prize.

I think it's been great and even though ADT won't continue, and we will probably have some other great ending events next year. Hopefully some similar tournaments coming up in a couple of years time. It's just a very tough time these days, and unfortunately they are not continuing. But I think this year, we can prove that it will be another great event, and you never know.

Q. Any scenario where you see Kapalua shifting from here to next season in the ending position?
SUZANN PETTERSEN: I don't know, I'm not the tournament chief or tournament director of this tournament.

Q. Would you see that, as this being the season-ender?
SUZANN PETTERSEN: Personally I think this is a great full-field event. I think a season-ending tournament should be a more limited field like whatever, top in the Money List, like a tournament championship kind of thing. That's my opinion.

So I think that should be--that's why I think ADT is a great tournament. You have to kind of play your way in to get there and it's kind of based on how you've played all year, and I think that's great.

Hopefully the LPGA will come up with another season-ending tournament similar to that.

Here's hoping Bivens listens to Pettersen if she won't listen to me!

[Update 1 (4:00 am): Ron Sirak's sources are a little clearer--and disappointing from my P.O.V.--even if there's good news that the LPGA remains committed to the ADT's format. The bad news for me is that plans look clearer for it to become a kickoff event in 2010 (Sirak floated "February" for Bivens), while the Stanford International could well become the concluding event, after all.

Sources familiar with the situation told Golf World the leading candidate for the new season-ending event was the Stanford International Pro-Am, which made its tour debut last April at the Fairmont Turnberry Isle Resort & Club in Aventura, Fla.

A spokesperson for the tournament said a date for the 2009 event has yet to be determined, opening the way for it to move to the end of next year. Since Stanford Financial is a Houston-based company it would seem likely the tournament would be moved closer to the corporation's headquarters in Texas since it will serve as a high-profile tournament ripe for corporate entertaining....

While Bivens said the desire was to have a season-ending event with a field of more than 100 players--again a description consistent with the Stanford tournament--she said the tour would stick with the current ADT Championship format when it returns under a new name in 2010.

Well, let's wait and see. Bivens mentioned to Sirak she plans to release the 2009 schedule in November, right before the last ADT Championship begins.]

[Update 2 (4:11 am): Join the discussion at Waggle Room!]

[Update 3 (10:36 am): Here's Bill Jempty's critique of a very sketchy AP version of the story.]

[Update 4 (10:38 am): Ryan Ballengee asks the no-longer-million-dollar-to-the-winner question...the one Pettersen raises about the format of the season-ending Stanford Invitational.]

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