Friday, November 22, 2013

LPGA Announces 2014 Schedule

The first time that I ever talked with LPGA Commissioner Michael Whan was back in 2010.
He had taken over the job as head honcho of the LPGA shortly before that. The LPGA had just 24 tournaments on the schedule at that time. I asked him how many tournaments he would like to add to the schedule over the next few years. He answered that he would like to see the number of tournaments grow to 30.

Today just a few years later, Mr. Whan has exceeded his goal.

The LPGA announced its 2014 schedule today, and the number of tournaments has increased from 28 in 2013, to 32 in 2014. And that doesn't even include the International Crown. That has to be great news for all LPGA fans.

Four new tournaments will be added to the schedule, plus the International Crown. They are as follows:

1- The International Crown. This tournament will be played in Owings Mills, MD next year before moving to its permanent home at Rich Harvest Farms in Sugar Grove, Illinois. The tournament will take place July 24th thru July 27th. The eight countries (Australia, Chinese Taipei, Japan, South Korea, Spain, Sweden, Thailand and the United States) were announced on Thursday. Four players will represent each country and those players will be announced at the 2014 Kraft Nabisco Championship held April 3-6 after the individual qualifying process is complete.

2- Another inaugural event in 2014 is the Meijer LPGA Classic which will be held just outside Grand Rapids, Mich.  The event will take place August 7-10 at Blythefield Country Club in Belmont marking the Tour’s first visit to West Michigan and first stop in the state since a 9-year run in East Lansing ended in 2000.

3- After a one-year break, the Alabama Classic is back and welcomes a full field to the Robert Trent Jones Trail’s Capitol Hill Course, September 18-21.  With the Mobile Bay LPGA Classic on board for a fifth consecutive year, the state of Alabama joins California (3) as the only states with multiple LPGA events.

4- April brings a return to the Bay Area for the $1.8 million Swinging Skirts LPGA Classic.
The Swinging Skirts LPGA Classic will mark the Tour’s first event in the Bay Area since 2010. It’s sponsored by Swinging Skirts, a successful Taiwanese group whose goal is to grow women’s golf and the golf industry in Taiwan. The event is co-sanctioned with the Taiwan LPGA, and will feature 120 LPGA players, as well as players from Taiwan. It becomes the first ever LPGA co-sanctioned tournament on American soil. It will take place April 24-27 at Lake Merced Golf Club outside San Francisco, Calif.

5- Golf’s Global Tour also continues to find new overseas opportunities to showcase its talent.  The LPGA’s Asian Swing grows by one in 2014 with the addition of a new fall event that will follow the annual trip to Taiwan and precede the long-running Mizuno Classic in Japan.  As for the new event in Asia, the October 27-Nov 2 date and $2 million purse is set, but further details of the event will wait to be announced until February 2014 during the LPGA’s early Asian swing.

Other highlights of today's announcement include:
  • The total purse will grow from $48.8 Million in 2013, to $56.3 Million in 2014.
  • Total Events grow from 28 to 32. (International Crown not included in count)
  • Official North American Events grow from 18 to 21.
  • Official Asian Events grows from 8 to 9.
  • Televised events will grow from 27 to 32.
  • Televised hours goes from 320 to 350+.
  • The commissioner did say that the return to Portland, which is included in the 32, is still tentative.
“This is by no means a finished product,” Whan said. “But it’s an enjoyable journey right now for our players and our partners and we’re going to continue pushing toward something in which the LPGA’s Founders and LPGA fans can be proud.  We’re excited about where we are, but even more excited about where we’re going!”

2014 LPGA Schedule
Jan. 23-26: Pure Silk Bahamas Classic, Atlantis, Ocean Club Golf Course, Paradise Island, Bahamas
Feb. 13-16: ISPS Handa Women's Australian Open, Victoria Golf Club, Melbourne
Feb. 20-23: Honda LPGA Thailand Chon Buri, Thailand
Feb. 27-March 2: HSBC Women's Champions, Sentosa Golf Club, Singapore
March 20-23: LPGA Founders Cup, Wildfire Golf Club, Phoenix
March 27-30: Kia Classic, Aviara Golf Club, Carlsbad
April 3-6: Kraft Nabisco Championship, Mission Hills CC, Dinah Shore Course, Rancho Mirage, Calif.
April 16-19: LPGA Lotte Championship, Ko Olina Golf Club, Oahu, Hawaii
April 24-27: *Swinging Skirts, Lake Merced Golf Club, Daly City, Calif.
May 1-4: North Texas LPGA Shootout, Las Colinas CC, Irving, Texas
May 15-18: Kingsmill Championship, Kingsmill Resort, Williamsburg, Va.
May 22-25: Mobile Bay LPGA Classic, RTJ Golf Trail, Magnolia Grove, The Crossings, Mobile, Ala.
May 30-June 1: ShopRite LPGA Classic, Stockton Seaview Hotel and Golf Club, Bay Course, Galloway, N.J.
June 5-8: Manulife Financial LPGA Classic, Grey Silo Golf Course, Waterloo, Ontario, Canada
June 19-22: U.S. Women's Open, Pinehurst No. 2, Pinehurst, N.C.
June 26-29: Walmart NW Arkansas Championship, Pinnacle, CC, Rogers, Ark.
July 10-13: Ricoh Women's British Open Royal Birkdale, Southport, England
July 17-20: Marathon Classic, Highland Meadows Golf Club, Sylvania, Ohio
July 21-27: *International Crown, Caves Valley, Owings Mills, Md.
Aug. 7-10: *Meijer LPGA Classic, Blythefield CC, Grand Rapids, Mich.
Aug. 14-17: Wegmans LPGA Championship, Monroe GC, Pittsford, N.Y.
Aug. 21-24: Canadian Pacific Women's Open, London Hunt & CC, London, Ontario, Canada
Aug. 28-31: Portland Classic, Columbia Edgewater, Portland, Ore.
Sept. 11-14: The Evian Championship, Evian Masters Golf Club, Evian-les-Bains, France
Sept. 18-21: *Alabama Classic, RTJ Capitol Hill, Senator Course, Prattville, Ala.
Oct. 2-5: Reignwood Pine Valley LPGA Classic, Pine Valley Golf Club, Beijing, China
Oct. 9-12: Sime Darby LPGA Malaysia, Kuala Lumpur G&CC, Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia
Oct. 16-19: KEB Hana Bank Championship, Sky 72 Golf Club, Incheon, Korea
Oct. 23-26: Taiwan Championship, Sunrise G&CC, Taiwan
Oct. 30-Nov. 2: *New event, China, TBD
Nov. 6-9: Mizuno, Japan, Kintetsu Kashikojima, Mie, Japan
Nov. 13-16: Lorena Ochoa Invitational, TBD, Mexico
Nov. 20-23: CME Group Titleholders, Tiburon Golf Club, Naples, Fla.




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