Tournament set for mid-May next year

July 01, 1991|By John W. Stewart and Don Markus | John W. Stewart and Don Markus,Sun Staff Correspondents

BETHESDA -- The 1992 Mazda LPGA Championship will be held May 14-17, with television coverage by NBC.

Jan Thompson, vice president of marketing for the title sponsor, confirmed the dates and the television contract, adding that NBC had cleared the way to be compatible with the NBA playoffs, another of the network's sports packages.

This announcement came at the conclusion of this year's championship at Bethesda Country Club yesterday. The new dates return the event to the more traditional third-week-in-May position it held at Kings Island, Ohio, the site from 1978-89.

The new dates will put the championship two weeks ahead of the PGA Tour's Kemper Open, due at nearby TPC-Avenel in Potomac, May 28-31. Although not confirmed, it is expected that the $1 million LPGA event will return to Bethesda CC next year.

The original contract between Bethesda CC and Advantage International, the Washington-based event manager, called for five years, with the first two firm, the remainder to be negotiated. With the first two years completed, Bethesda CC has presented an initial proposal for next year.

"Per our contract -- 'our' meaning Advantage, Mazda and LPGA -- with Bethesda, we have 30 days from the end of the championship to exercise the option," said Hal Seward, tournament director.

Jim Silman, Bethesda CC president and tournament representative for the club, said: "The ball is with Advantage. When they get back to us, we will go to the membership with it."

He would not presume to guess on that outcome, but it is believed the membership would vote to continue the relationship.

"No doubt we will stay in the metropolitan D.C. area regardless," Seward said. "Mazda is extremely pleased with this area. There is no way the tournament will move.

"It's just that it takes a couple of years to find out what works and what doesn't work. This year was better than last, and next year should be even better."

Thompson said the eight Mazda dealers in this area got 25,000 tickets for a promotion and that all the dealers came back asking for more. The announced final-round crowd of 25,500 swelled the total attendance to 80,500, slightly higher than a year ago, despite the heat and humidity.

* Meg Mallon spent most of her childhood in Michigan, but her roots, as well as her heart, belong to Boston. And to the Celtics.

Mallon's father, John, a retired Ford Motor Co. executive, was friendly with a number of Celtics during the early 1960s. How friendly?

"The 1963 Celtics were at my christening," said Meg Mallon, winner of the LPGA Championship yesterday.

Meg Mallon said yesterday that she still sees a number of former Boston players, such as John Havlicek and K.C. Jones, during pro-am events on the LPGA Tour. Of all the Celtics, she is friendliest with Jones, now coach of the Seattle SuperSonics.

"He taught me that nice guys win," she said.

* Tina Barrett of Baltimore shot 37-3774 and finished at 7-over-par 291. The round included three bogeys and no birdies.

"I had some early chances when I was hitting my irons solidly, but I lost them on the back [the front nine]," she said. "I just made so many good pars. Some of the ones on my last nine were unbelievable.

"It's been a tough week for me."

She will take this week off, then play in the U.S. Women's Open next week. She was an automatic qualifier off her top-30 position on the money list.

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