SBD/September 24, 2013/Leagues and Governing Bodies

LPGA Reportedly Looking At Adding Events Next Year In Grand Rapids, Nantucket

Whan made strengthening the LPGA schedule a point of emphasis
A new LPGA tournament is "close to being finalized" for next August in Grand Rapids, Mich., with supermarket chain Meijer "slated to be the title sponsor," according to Beth Ann Baldry of GOLFWEEK. Blythefield Country Club would host the event. The annual Meijer Charity Classic Pro-Am in Grand Rapids is not an official LPGA event, but it has "attracted many players for years." Another tournament could be added in '14 on Nantucket, and Miacomet Golf Club, the "island's only public facility, would be the future site." LPGA Commissioner Mike Whan's "top objective since the start of his tenure ... has been to strengthen the tour's schedule, most notably the number of U.S. events." Meanwhile, the Pure Silk-Bahamas LPGA Classic could move to a "late January slot next season, giving the LPGA a much-needed start on this side of the world" before a March event in Phoenix (GOLFWEEK.com, 9/23).

SOLHEIM HEADED TO THE HEARTLAND: In Iowa, Rick Brown reports the LPGA yesterday officially announced Des Moines Golf & Country Club "would host the 2017 Solheim Cup." The course hosted the '99 U.S. Senior Open, and that "was crucial in the club getting big-time golf back again." Whan said, "It was 100 percent impactful in the whole process. At the end of the day we talked about making sure we go to venues that have had and handled big -- big from the standpoint of fans, big from the standpoint of venue and big from the standpoint of global media. The facility proved it can handle big in a big way." Brown notes the 252,800 fans that attended the '99 U.S. Senior Open "set records for attendance that still stand" (DES MOINES REGISTER, 9/24). Whan said, "I believe in 2017, we're going to blow the standard out of the water of what a Solheim Cup should be" (AP, 9/23). Meanwhile, the LPGA announced that DuPont is joining Rolex and Ping "as global partners in the event" (GOLFCHANNEL.com, 9/23).
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