LPGA's '19 Schedule Features 33 Events, Record Prize Money
The 33 official events on next year’s LPGA schedule are "one more than this year and will feature a tour-record" $70.55M in total prize money, surpassing the '18 record haul by $5.2M, according to Randall Mell of GOLFCHANNEL.com. There will also be "more diverse formats, with three new formats on the schedule." The year will begin with one such event -- the Diamond Resorts Tournament of Champions -- featuring LPGA winners from the "last two years playing alongside celebrities and entertainers in Lake Buena Vista, Fla." The tour’s second event will feature yet another "new format, with the LPGA and the men’s European Tour co-sanctioning the Australian Golf event in Barwon Heads, Australia, on Feb. 7-10." The Dow Great Lakes Bay Invitational is the "other new format, a two-woman team event to be played July 17-20 in Midland, Mich." The CME Group Tour Championship will "once again serve as the season-ending event, but as previously announced, the Race to the CME Globe has been revamped, so the season-long points race will now only determine the 60 players who qualify for the event and its rich purse" (GOLFCHANNEL.com, 12/6).
OPEN SLOT: GOLFWEEK's Beth Ann Nichols noted there is "one TBA" on next year's LPGA schedule, Nov. 13-16, the week preceding the CME. The Blue Bay LPGA event in China took up that spot in '18, and the LPGA stated that a "contractual agreement for that week’s event is expected to be finalized" in early '19. The schedule features "back-to-back majors as the Evian Championship moves back its original summer slot." The Evian and newly sponsored AIG Women’s British Open will be "held in consecutive weeks" (GOLFWEEK.com, 12/6). LPGA Commissioner Mike Whan said the back-to-back majors is a "one-year phenomenon" because the tour wanted to move the Evian “back to the summer, wanted to get three more hours of daylight to be perfectly honest and play Evian the way we played Evian for 20 years beforehand" (“Golf Central,” Golf Channel, 12/6).
LEFT OFF FOR NOW: In Detroit, Matt Charboneau noted the LPGA tournament played at Travis Pointe Country Club in Ann Arbor "appears in doubt." Sponsored by Volvik for the first "three years of its existence, the tournament entered the off-season without a title sponsor secured and is not included" on the LGPA’s '19 schedule. Tournament Dir Keith Karbo still is "working to secure sponsors and the LPGA Tour is open to still adding the event at a later date to next season’s schedule." Tournament Media & PR Dir Bruce Madej said, "Our organization is prepared to operate the event once a title sponsor is confirmed." There is "no timetable for when the tournament would need to secure a sponsor in order to land a spot on next year's schedule" (DETROIT NEWS, 12/6). In Michigan, Ryan Zuke noted there will be "two other LPGA events in Michigan next year with the annual Meijer Classic near Grand Rapids and the inaugural Great Lakes Bay Invitational in Midland" (MLIVE.com, 12/6).