Reports on the demise of the LPGA Sybase Classic may be premature.
The tournament, which has been without a home since ending its relationship with Upper Montclair Country Club in Clifton, N.J., has reached an agreement in principle to be staged at Essex County Country Club in West Orange, N.J., according to a source familiar with the negotiations. The terms of the deal were not immediately available, but they call for the event to be held at the new site for 2010 and 2011, the source said.
After ending its three-year relationship with Upper Montclair in early September, the tournament’s future was placed in doubt because reports surfaced that Sybase was considering ending its sponsorship. But according to the source, Octagon, which runs the tournament, has indicated Sybase still is the title sponsor.
The source requested anonymity because LPGA news is supposed to be issued by tour officials. Octagon was contacted in regard to the report but chose not to comment.
There was also speculation the Sybase Classic would leave New Jersey and return to New York, where the event was held from 1990 until 2006 when it moved to Upper Montclair. But after leaving Upper Montclair, the tournament chose Essex County over a host of other New Jersey and New York courses.
A second source confirmed that representatives of the LPGA and Octagon visited Essex County within the last month. During that meeting the two parties discussed forming a relationship with Essex County and reached an agreement in principle during the past few weeks.
If the deal is finalized, Essex County will host its first LPGA event. Originally designed by A.W. Tillinghast in 1887 and revised by Seth Raynor and his assistant Charles Banks in 1925, Essex County calls itself “New Jersey’s oldest County Club” on its Web site. It recently underwent a massive renovation to lengthen the par 71 course from 6,901 yards to 7,101 yards.