According to Gabe Codding, business manager for the Kraft Nabisco Championship, all of the changes were made in the Automatic Qualification portion of the eligibility criteria. The changes will extend automatic exemption to the top 80 players on the LPGA's 2009 money list. Previously, automatic exemption was extended to the top 70 players. The tournament has also made a change to the category that previously extended exemptions to the top 30 players on the money list at the conclusion of the tournament prior to the Kraft Nabisco Championship. The new criteria will extend exemptions to LPGA members who finish in the top 10 at the Kia Classic Presented by J Golf at La Costa Resort in Carlsbad, Calif., the week prior to the Kraft Nabisco Championship.
In addition, the Kraft Nabisco Championship added a category giving exemptions to members of the 2009 American and European Solheim Cup teams if they have not already earned a spot in the field through another exemption.
According to Codding, the changes in criteria potentially will allow more players the opportunity to play in the Kraft Nabisco Championship, considered to be the Masters in women's golf by many in the golf industry.
"Because of the reduced schedule of the LPGA from years past, combined with being so few events early in the tour year, we believe the revised criteria will provide an opportunity for some future star players to join us this year at the Kraft Nabisco Championship," Codding said. "Realistically, nothing really changes after the Friday cuts but it may create more excitement earlier in the week."
The Kraft Nabisco Championship will celebrate its 39th anniversary March 29 - April 4 at Mission Hills Country Club in Rancho Mirage, Calif. This year's tournament will feature the best players in women's professional and amateur golf, led by defending champion Brittany Lincicome. For more information, please go to the tournament Web site at www.KNCGOLF.com.
2010 Kraft Nabisco Championship Tournament Eligibility Criteria
There are two categories of qualification for the 2010 Kraft Nabisco Championship. The changes to the criteria are highlighted in red.
1. Automatic qualification
|•||LPGA Tour Hall of Fame members|
|•||Winners of LPGA Tour events at which prize money is considered official for purposes of the 2005-2010 LPGA Official Money Lists|
|•||All past Kraft Nabisco Championship champions|
|•||All members who finished in the Top 5 in the 2009 McDonald's LPGA Championship; the 2009 U.S. Women's Open; and the 2009 Ricoh Women's British Open|
|•||Players with status in Category 1 of the 2010 LPGA Priority List (i.e., Top 80 on the LPGA Official Money List at the end of the last official LPGA tournament of the previous year and all players with status in that category by way of a medical exemption for the 2009 season)|
|•||Top 10 players at the conclusion of the Standard Eligibility tournament that immediately precedes the Kraft Nabisco Championship|
|•||All members who finished in or tied for the 20th position in the 2009 Kraft Nabisco Championship|
|•||The 2009 Louise Suggs Rolex Rookie of the Year|
|•||The 2009 U.S. Women's Amateur Champion provided she is still an amateur at the beginning of tournament competition|
|•||Top 3 players in the Rolex Women's World Rankings as of March 1, 2010 who are otherwise not qualified|
|•||All members of the 2009 Solheim Cup teams, not otherwise qualified|
|•||Any LPGA Tour member who did not compete in the 2009 Kraft Nabisco Championship due to injury, illness or maternity who subsequently received a medical/maternity extension of membership from the LPGA in the 2009 season, whose last year of eligibility for the Kraft Nabisco Championship was in 2009 and who is otherwise not qualified for the 2010 Kraft Nabisco Championship.|
2. Kraft Nabisco Brands Exemptions (up to 15, which may or may not be given)
|International players: Top 2 players from the 2009 LET Order of Merit who are otherwise not qualified, provided such players are within the Top 10 positions on the LET Order of Merit; Top 2 players from the 2009 JLPGA Official Money List who are otherwise not qualified, provided such players are within the Top 10 positions on the JLPGA Official Money List; Top 2 players from the 2009 KLPGA Official Money List who are otherwise not qualified, provided such players are within the Top 10 positions on the KLPGA Official Money List|
LPGA, T&CP and Non-LPGA Professionals: Up to four LPGA Tour and T&CP members not otherwise qualified; Non-LPGA professionals who finished in the Top 5 of the 2009 McDonald's LPGA Championship, 2009 U.S. Women's Open and the 2009 Ricoh Women's British Open; all non-LPGA professionals finishing in or tied for the 20th position in the 2009 Kraft Nabisco Championship.
*Eligibility criteria subject to change.