The PGA Tour's new television contract with CBS Sports and NBC Sports has led to the LPGA Tour moving one of its major championships from network coverage to The Golf Channel.
And that's just fine with Herb Lottman, co-founder of the LPGA Championship.
''CBS decided they would rather take care of the boys than the girls," Lottman said. ''We had an association with them for over 13 years. They made a change, and told us after the fact."
With an increased load of PGA Tour coverage starting next year, CBS has the Memphis tournament June 7-10, 2007 -- the same week as the LPGA Championship. Lottman said CBS officials asked that the final round of the LPGA Championship end at 3 p.m. Sunday, allowing the network to shift to the final round of the St. Jude Championship.
Lottman refused to go along. He said fans at the LPGA Championship, which moved last year to Bulle Rock (about 45 minutes north of Baltimore), usually don't arrive at the course until 11 a.m. and prefer to spend the afternoon at the tournament.
''That is not acceptable," he said. ''They want to do the LPGA until 3 p.m., then do the boys' show from 3 to 6. This was an option year for us, and we decided to walk away."
The LPGA Tour does not have a TV contract with the networks. This contract was a ''time buy," meaning
CBS Sports spokeswoman LeslieAnne Wade said there was ''definitely a scheduling issue" but declined further comment.
The LPGA Championship instead signed a three-year deal with The Golf Channel to broadcast the tournament through 2008. A year ago, Annika Sorenstam won for the third straight time, holding off a late charge from Michelle Wie for a three-shot victory and the second leg of the Grand Slam.
Lottman said the tournament would be carried live 4-6 p.m. all four rounds, with replays in the evening.
Even when CBS Sports televised the event, the LPGA Championship felt it was being neglected. Jim Nantz, the voice of CBS golf, only came to the tournament once in the last seven years -- and the third round was washed out by rain.
''We were getting the second team up in the tower and out on the course," Lottman said. ''All in all, I'm very happy to be with The Golf Channel. They're in 80 million homes and they continue to grow. And quality of their production has gotten better."