MT. PLEASANT, S.C. -- Ginn Sports Entertainment LLC announced today that Ginn Clubs & Resorts will sponsor and stage its second LPGA tournament -- the Ginn Tribute Hosted by Annika Sorenstam at the Arnold Palmer designed RiverTowne Country Club Course at the Belvidere Resort, May 31-June 3, 2007. The announcement was made today by Ginn Clubs & Resorts President Bobby Ginn and LPGA Commissioner Carolyn F. Bivens.
Ginn also announced that the Ginn Tribute Hosted by Annika Sorenstam will be run and operated exclusively by IMG and televised nationally by NBC Sports.
The 72-hole event will also focus on a tribute to an LPGA great each year. The player will be honored and saluted in ceremonies during tournament week.
The addition of this $2.6 million event brings the fast growing Ginn Clubs & Resorts portfolio to four professional golf events -- two on the LPGA Tour and two on the Champions Tour. Ginn Clubs & Resorts hosted the LPGA's Ginn Open in Reunion, FL earlier this year and two Champions Tour events have recently been announced for 2007 -- the Ginn Championship at Hammock Beach set to be played March 26-April 1 with a $2.5 million purse and the Ace Group Classic Champions Tour event in mid-February of 2007 which will be hosted at Ginn's Quail West community and golf courses in Naples, FL.
"It is unbelievable how fast we are growing," said Bobby Ginn, President and CEO of Ginn Clubs & Resorts. "I certainly didn't think we'd be where we are this fast with four professional events for our rapidly developing golf resort and real estate communities. We had an unbelievable first venture with the LPGA in Reunion and we'll stage another fantastic event in Charleston. To have Annika Sorenstam, the world's greatest female player as our host makes this tournament even more special."
"I am thrilled and excited to host this prestigious inaugural event," said Annika Sorenstam. "I have a great relationship with Bobby Ginn and Ginn Clubs and Resorts and this tournament further highlights the direction that we are taking together."
"We are very excited to once again team up with Bobby Ginn and the Ginn Company for the Ginn Tribute Hosted by Annika Sorenstam, which will debut in 2007," said Carolyn Bivens, LPGA commissioner. "Ginn's initial event with us, the 2006 Ginn Clubs & Resorts Open in Orlando, was world-class from the start. I am confident that this will be repeated at the inaugural event in Charleston where players will experience exceptional hospitality and a fabulous course and fans will be treated to great competition by the best players in the world."
The Arnold Palmer designed course at RiverTowne Country Club that will test the skills of the greatest women players in the world was named the 2004 South Carolina Course of the Year by the South Carolina Golf Course Owners Association. The 18-hole par 72 layout measures 6,679 yards from the medal tees.
Sixteen golf courses have either been constructed or are in development and Ginn's course architects are a Who's Who in the world of golf -- Hall of Famers Jack Nicklaus, Arnold Palmer, Nick Faldo, Nick Price, Tom Watson and Tom Kite all have either designed or are designing courses on Ginn's resort properties.
The Ginn Company commissioned golf legend Arnold Palmer to develop Charleston's first Arnold Palmer Signature Golf Course. The 18-hole championship course includes 13 holes that wind along the Wando River and Horlbeck Creek. The five sets of tees on this 7,200-yard venue provide spectacular challenges that are meant to deliver a memorable golfing experience to every player of the game. RiverTowne Country Club received a 4.5 star rating in Golf Digest's Place to Play in 2005 and it was the South Carolina Course of the Year in 2004.
About Ginn Clubs & Resorts
Ginn Clubs & Resorts is a privately-held resort development and management firm which specializes in exclusive leisure lifestyle and vacation destination communities across the U.S. From private residential communities to resort destinations offering unparalleled ownership and vacation opportunities, the common denominator throughout Ginn Club & Resorts communities is service. The company's principals have more than three decades of experience in creating extraordinary large-scale, recreation-oriented communities. Current Ginn Clubs & Resorts communities include Cobblestone Park in Columbia, S.C. as well as Belvidere Club & Resort, which encompasses RiverTowne Country Club, The Cottages on Charleston Harbor and Patriot's Point Golf Course in the Charleston area. The company also owns and operates Hammock Beach, The Conservatory at Hammock Beach and Yacht Harbor Village near St. Augustine, Fla., Reunion Resort & Club of Orlando, Bella Collina north of Orlando and Tesoro and Tesoro Preserve in Port St. Lucie on Florida's historic "Treasure Coast." The company also owns and operates Mahogany Run Golf Course in St. Thomas and has several projects under development in North Carolina, Vermont, Colorado and in the Bahamas. http://www.ginnclubsandresorts.com/
About the LPGA
Featuring the world's best women golfers, the LPGA's membership includes touring, teaching and club professionals. The LPGA Tour in 2006 features 36 events, with total prize money of more than $51 million. Since 1981, the LPGA and its tournaments have raised approximately $170 million for charity. From the dreams of its 13 founders in 1950, the LPGA has evolved into the world's pre-eminent women's professional sports organization. The LPGA has grown from its roots as a playing tour into a non-profit organization involved in every facet of golf. In addition to the LPGA Tour members, the LPGA membership includes nearly 1,200 certified Teaching and Club Professionals (T&CP) who serve the golf industry in teaching, coaching and management positions. The LPGA T&CP member programs focus on increasing the involvement of women, girls and youth in golf, as well as contribute to the growth of the sport overall. The LPGA is headquartered in Daytona Beach, Fla. For more information on the LPGA, log on to http://www.lpga.com/.
About IMG and IMG Media
IMG is the world's premier Sports, Entertainment and Media Company. IMG is a diversified global business with two major business segments: IMG Sports & Entertainment, and IMG Media. IMG employs over 2,300 people in 30 countries. Forstmann Little & Co. purchased IMG in 2004.
IMG Sports & Entertainment includes: consulting services; event ownership and management; fashion events and models representation; licensing; golf course design; client representation in golf, tennis, baseball, broadcasting, hockey, football, European football, rugby, cricket, motorsports, coaching, Olympic sports and action sports. In addition, IMG Academies are the world's largest and most advanced, state-of-the-art, multi-sport training and educational facility, delivering world-class sports training experiences to over 12,000 junior, collegiate, adult and professional athletes each year.
IMG Media, which includes our content production subsidiaries TWI and Darlow Smithson Productions, is recognized as a global leader in the delivery of traditional and new media content and services, with Internet, broadband and mobile expertise, transforming how audiences access and interact with content. IMG Media produces and distributes over 9,000 hours of sports, documentary, docu-drama, entertainment, and popular factual content annually, over multiple platforms across 200 countries, including award-winning television and radio programming. It also represents the broadcast rights to many of the world's premier sporting events and has the world's biggest sports archive with more than 200,000 hours of footage.
More information about IMG is available at http://www.imgworld.com/ and http://www.darlowsmithson.com/.