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ELIZABETH, N.J. -- The ShopRite Classic, one of the longest-running events on the PGA tour, has come to an end, according to published reports.
According to tournament chairman Larry Harrison, "In July, the LPGA Commissioner [Carolyn Bivens] notified us that they were awarding our date on the schedule to another [new] tournament, despite a commitment from the previous tour leadership that our date would remain intact through 2008. Since that time, we have attempted to negotiate a workable date and a new contract with the LPGA, to no avail."
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The LPGA has refuted Harrison's version of events and has asked through its lawyers for him to retract his remarks.
The tournament originated in 1986 as the Atlantic City LPGA Classic. ShopRite, whose supermarkets are members of the retailer cooperative Wakefern Food Corp., became the title sponsor in 1992. Through the charitable component of the tournament, ShopRite contributed to such organizations as the Susan G. Komen Breast Cancer Foundation, Deborah Hospital Foundation, UMDNJ, and regional food banks, among others.
Altogether, during its sponsorship of the tournament, ShopRite donated over $16 million in purses and $12 million to charity.