SBJ/December 20 - 26, 1999/No Topic Name

Evian springs for $1.8 million purse in French LPGA tourney

A recent addition to the LPGA Tour's 2000 schedule touts a $1.8 million purse — the largest purse in women's golf.

The Evian Masters, a tournament that has been on the Ladies European Tour since 1994, will be sanctioned by both the LPGA and the LET in 2000. LPGA Commissioner Ty Votaw said the tournament will provide an opportunity for the best players in women's golf to compete.

The event is scheduled for June 14-17 in Evian-les-Baines, France. The purse last year was about $1 million.

The purse increase reflects title-sponsor Evian and LET officials' desire to make the tournament a more prestigious event, Votaw said. He added that the fact that the largest purse hails from an international tour stop doesn't have that much of an impact on the LPGA.

"We don't give it much thought. We're just happy it's on the schedule as further proof that we are a world tour," he said.

The Evian Masters for the last six years conflicted with an event on the LPGA schedule, and because of LPGA regulations only four members of the LPGA were allowed to play in the event. The addition of the event this year bumps the LPGA's schedule for 2000 up to 40 events.

Ballgirl Athletic recently signed a four-year deal with the fledgling United States Professional Volleyball league to become the league's official apparel provider.

The partnership includes a financial commitment from Ballgirl, a marketing presence and a complete line of apparel, said USPV spokeswoman Heather Kolasch. She said the deal's estimated worth is $1 million.

For Ballgirl, the deal is an opportunity to expand the company's name in women's sports and to gain credibility as a leading designer and manufacturer of women's sporting goods, said Tim Talley, president and co-CEO of Ballgirl Athletic.

"We try to go after relationships and partnerships with people that have the same goals," Talley said. "We want to help them grow because growing their business means growing ours."

Ballgirl Athletic is based in New York City and was founded four years ago. In addition to volleyball apparel, its product line includes basketball, soccer, lacrosse and field hockey apparel for women.

The USPV is currently preparing for the Millennium Cup in May, a round-robin tournament featuring international players. The league will hold its inaugural season in 2001 and will feature six to 10 teams mainly in the Midwest.

Attendance at the recent 1999 NCAA Women's College Cup set records for women's college soccer.

The two-day event was held in San Jose at Spartan Stadium on Dec. 3 and 5.

A record 14,006 fans attended the semifinal games on Dec. 3 between the University of North Carolina and Penn State University and between the University of Notre Dame and Santa Clara University.

That record was topped on Dec. 5 when 14,410 people attended the championship game between North Carolina and Notre Dame. The game was won by North Carolina.

The two-day attendance total of 28,416 broke the record set in 1998 by more than 8,000 fans. The 1998 event was played in Greensboro, N.C.

The Women's College Cup was hosted by San Jose University and the San Jose Sports Authority and will return to San Jose next year.

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Related Topics:

LPGA, NCAA, Sports Authority

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