Jan 31, 2011 at 02:34 PM
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'Mock Purse' Concept Puts Partner In Interesting Spot

The new RR Donnelley LPGA Founders Cup is raising some concerns with players after it was revealed that players will be competing for an "imaginary purse" of $1.3 million, with all proceeds (expected to be around $500K) to be donated to charity.

“To have the purse be $1.3 million and the charity not get $1.3 million because it’s imaginary money, I’m having a difficult time with that,” LPGA player Paula Creamer told the GolfChannel.com. “I don’t understand how a sponsor or company like RR Donnelley, a $10 billion company, can’t be on board to put up prize money equal to what’s given to the charity. I don’t understand how that can happen."

The Founders Cup was created to honor the Tour's founders and is expected to raise $500,000 in tournament proceeds, which will be donated to the LPGA-USGA Girls’ Golf Foundation. Some players expressed concern that the amount being raised for charity did not at least equal to the imaginary purse.

Golf blog Waggleroom.com writes that "Donnelley, which signed on after [LPGA Commissioner Michael Whan] shared his vision for the contest, will fork over $800,000 in operational costs (less than the $1.2 million or so that it typically takes to run a tournament, since Marriott will donate rooms and food) and $500,000 for the charity."

Whan clarified RR Donnelley's role in a statement on Friday.

"The great thing here is that RR Donnelley is paying full title sponsor money, including television costs, just like any other title sponsor would," Whan said. "In this case, we're able to use some of that money toward the operational costs of running the event and the rest to make a significant contribution to LPGA-USGA Girls Golf."

Former LPGA player Annika Sorenstam suggested that a Pro-Am might offer a better format to raise the money, but Whan disagreed.

“If I wanted to, I could put on a pro-am with 20 players and sponsors in Atlanta [and raise the money],” Whan said. “But it would be on page seven of the Atlanta Constitution...and they wouldn’t be talking about it on the Golf Channel.

"It will be a regular tournament, you just don't [earn] money," said Kraft Nabisco and RICOH Women's British Open champion Yani Tseng. "So, you're helping people and it makes you happy too. It doesn't matter how much money you win. Everything goes to charity and that's a very good thing."

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