LPGA Adds Third New Event To Calendar With Addition Of North Texas Tourney
The LPGA tour will return to Dallas-Ft. Worth “for the first time in more than two decades with the creation of the North Texas LPGA Shootout, to be held April 25-28 at Las Colinas Country Club in Irving,” according to Jimmy Burch of the FT. WORTH STAR-TELEGRAM. Tour officials Thursday announced the new event will feature a full field of 144 players and a purse of $1.3M. It will be the first 72-hole LPGA tourney in the area "since the 1991 U.S. Women’s Open was played at Colonial Country Club in Fort Worth" and the first at "any venue in Texas since the 2009 LPGA Tour Championship in Houston” (FT. WORTH STAR-TELEGRAM, 1/11). The tournament does not have a title sponsor, but tour officials said that financing “came together through a collection of local and regional sponsors.” GOLFCHANNEL.com's Randall Mell reported though the LPGA “isn’t expected to release its full schedule until next week, Thursday’s news marks the third new event to be announced for this year.” That makes seven new events that LPGA Commissioner Mike Whan has “put together over the last two years” (GOLFCHANNEL.com, 1/10). GOLF WORLD’s Ron Sirak notes the tour last week announced the Pure Silk-Bahamas LPGA Classic, a “new full-field, 72-hole event to be held May 23-26 with a $1.3 million purse and TV coverage by Golf Channel.” The LPGA also announced that the Jamie Farr Toledo Classic “would become the Marathon Classic presented by Owens Corning, with Marathon Petroleum taking over as title sponsor.” Farr exits after “28 years as tournament host.” Whan now “appears to have an outside shot at his goal of 30, the number at which he says the LPGA business model works” (GOLF WORLD, 1/14 issue).
SAYING GOODBYE TO KLINGER: In Toledo, Dave Hackenberg wrote the “gut reaction is to wonder why Jamie Farr’s name has come off our local LPGA golf tournament, regardless of sponsorship changes.” It has been the Jamie Farr Classic “since Day One, since founder/tournament director Judd Silverman and others struggled to get this thing off the ground in the early 1980s, since it needed an identity.” People who think it is “a shame that Farr’s name is being taken off the tournament … might point a finger at the new title sponsor since the announcements were made concurrently.” However, it reportedly is “more a confluence of coincidence.” Marathon not only “rode to the rescue but came in as top dog, title sponsor, with a big-dollar outlook that would up the purse over time and put all four rounds of the tournament on worldwide TV.” The tournament over the past nearly three decades has been “sponsored at various times and in various ways by Owens Corning, Kroger, O-I, and probably some others.” But the event regardless of sponsorship “has always been the Farr Classic” (TOLEDO BLADE, 1/10).