Rochester’s success cannot hinge on holding out hope for LPGA’s return

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I confess. I’m a hopeless romantic.

But if there are two things I’ve learned from lessons in love between adolescence to adulthood:

Know when it’s time to let go and, well, let go. And when it’s over, turn the focus on myself. There’s always room for self-improvement.

Democrat and Chronicle sports columnist Leo Roth seems determined to romanticize the LPGA’s decision to move its championship from Rochester to the New York City region. Tonight’s follow-up column reads like the third step in the Kübler-Ross model. First there was denial accompanied with anger. Next up — bargaining.

Like many slighted ex-lovers, Roth dreams up a scenario where the LPGA will need to run back to Rochester for help. Even if such a thought holds water, Roth’s reliance on Oak Hill Country Club alone misses the mark.

Filling the annual $20 million economic development gap left behind by the LPGA’s departure requires introspection. Moreover, it commands a more comprehensive look at the region beyond golf-based tourism. And it certainly requires more than holding out hope for a one-time return with a loosely-related chance for a PGA Championship in town a decade later.

Don Jefferies, president and CEO, Visit Rochester gets it. Upon speculation of the LPGA’s divestiture in Upstate New York, he wisely said, “We should celebrate that we had 38 great years. And look for other opportunities.”

If Roth’s opinions about the LPGA represent the broader consensus of the Flower City, well Rochester really needs to let go and find acceptance. Only then will the community begin to look in the mirror, find the courage to confront its shortcomings, and embrace its remaining strengths. By doing so, Rochester just might forget about the LPGA, improve its self-image, and attract something different, something better, something new.

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