LPGA Ocala event loses Coates Golf sponsor, Golden Ocala venue

LPGA Ocala event loses Coates Golf sponsor, Golden Ocala venue

The LPGA Tour has been making an early-season stop in Ocala, Fla., for each of the last two years. It appears the tournament is in serious jeopardy to appear on the schedule for a third year.

The tour said Tuesday that the Coates Golf Championship will not take place at Golden Ocala Golf and Equestrian Club in 2017. The club is owned by R+L Carriers, a freight-shipping company that is the presenting sponsor of the event.

Coates Golf will also not return as title sponsor of the event despite signing a three-year deal to have their name on the tournament. It's unclear why Coates, which makes women's golf equipment and apparel, has withdrawn their sponsorship.

R+L Carriers reportedly reached out to several potential replacement title sponsors but were unable to secure one.

Without a venue and title sponsor, the LPGA is in a difficult position to keep the event alive.

An LPGA statement to the Ocala Star-Banner reads: "We are actively working to secure a long-term sponsor and suitable venue to keep the LPGA and the best in women's professional golf in the Central Florida area and will announce more at the appropriate time."

In the first year of the event in 2015, some 80,000 fans attended the event which was won by Na Yeon Choi. This year, torrential rains and seemingly unending delays plagued the tournament ultimately won by Ha Na Jang.

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