It’s that time of year! The start of the 2013 LPGA season is quickly approaching and as we count down the days until the year’s first event, our eyes are focused on “What to Watch” for the upcoming season. So over the next two weeks on LPGA.com, we will take a glimpse at some of the top storylines on the LPGA Tour for 2013. Today’s storyline… New in Town
From the busy streets of Beijing to the sandy beaches of the Bahamas, the LPGA Tour will travel to all corners of the world and proclaim its name as Golf’s Global Tour in 2013. Embracing the vast dynamic of its players, the Tour will make stops in 13 different countries this year including Australia, Scotland, and South Korea with the 13th annual The Solheim Cup returning the U.S. soil this year.
This month the LPGA Tour announced several new additions to the 2013 schedule along with a glimpse into the 2014 season with the inaugural International Crown.
Let’s take a look into these new events and where the LPGA pros are heading to this year.
The Tour heads to the Northern Texas region for the first time in nearly 22 years for the North Texas LPGA Shootout, the first of three new tournaments this season. It will be played April 25 to 28 at Las Colinas Country Club in Irving, Texas following the LPGA LOTTE Championship Presented by J Golf. It will feature 72 holes of stroke play and a 144-player field vying for a $1.3 million purse.
The North Texas LPGA Shootout will also provide a unique opportunity for amateur players in the area to earn spots in the field. Tournament exemptions will be awarded to the winners of a high school and collegiate “shootout” played in advance of the event.
In late May, the LPGA Tour will make its first-ever stop in the Bahamas to play the stunningly beautiful, yet deceivingly challenging Ocean Club Golf Course at the Atlantis Resort. The full-field event will play over four days of Memorial Day weekend and compete for a $1.3 million purse, all while soaking in the rays from the beautiful Bahamian coastline.
The Tour adds another event to the Asian swing during the Fall when it heads to the Reignwood Pine Valley Golf Club near Beijing, China. Taking its place as the first stop on the swing before heading to the Sime Darby LPGA Malaysia, the Reignwood Pine Valley LPGA Classic will feature a $1.8 million purse and 81-player field, consisting of LPGA players and CLPGA players.
The LPGA’s first trip to the capital of China will be highly anticipated coming on the heels of Shanshan Feng’s major championship victory at last year’s Wegmans LPGA Championship, where she became the first Chinese golfer, male or female, to win a major championship.
In addition to new playing opportunities, the 2013 LPGA schedule also features the addition of the fifth major at The Evian, a return to the Old Course at St. Andrews, a highly anticipated trip to Sebonack Golf Club for the U.S. Women’s Open, the 13th edition of The Solheim Cup and a the Tour’s largest first-place check – now $700,000 – at the season-ending CME Group Titleholders.
The 2014 schedule is already looking just as, if not more promising of playing opportunity with the announcement of the International Crown – a first-of-its-kind, biennial, global match play competition. Eight countries represented by four of their top players will battle it out to be “Crowned” the world’s best golf nation. The inaugural even-year tournament debuts at the Caves Valley Golf Club in Owings Mills, Maryland in late July. In 2016, the Crown will be played at Rich Harvest Farms in Sugar Grove, Illinois, host of The 2009 Solheim Cup.
From 23 events in 2011 to 28 events in 2013, there’s no question the Tour’s growth has been in a perpetual upswing with uninterrupted momentum. This season, the pros will have the opportunity to compete for nearly $49 million in total prize money and will be showcased on more than 300 hours of tournament television coverage on Golf Channel and other networks, the most in the Tour’s history.