LPGA Announces 2011 Schedule

“New Ideas… New Tournaments… and a Renewed Commitment to Partners”

Commissioner Whan outlines “Global-Partnership-Responsibility” as the Supporting Pillars of the LPGA 2011 Tour Schedule will introduce inaugural U.S. events Founders Cup and Titleholders, plus new tournaments in Taiwan and China

DAYTONA BEACH, Florida, January 6, 2011 – The 2011 LPGA Tour season will feature new, ground-breaking ideas for tournaments; new events in the U.S., Taiwan and China; and a renewed commitment to its existing and long-term corporate partners through a unique qualifying format for its season finale and a season-long celebration of tournament title sponsors called the “Countdown to Titleholders.”

The 2011 LPGA Tour schedule was unveiled today during a TV appearance on Golf Channel by Commissioner Michael Whan followed by a conference call hosted by Whan and 2010 Rolex Player of the Year Yani Tseng.

“Our 2011 schedule reflects the key strategic initiatives of the LPGA: Global – new events in the U.S. and abroad; Partnership – consistently increasing the value to our current business partners; and Responsibility – embracing the history of the LPGA and making a commitment to the future of the women’s game,” Whan said.

All three of these elements will be showcased at the inaugural RR Donnelley LPGA Founders Cup, a tournament designed to honor the LPGA’s pioneers, showcase the world’s greatest female athletes of the present and, most importantly, build a strong and robust future for women in the game of golf.

“The heart and soul of the LPGA association is embodied by its gifted and engaged players, who to this day still embrace the same primary responsibility established by the LPGA’s Founders: To leave the Tour better than how they found it,” Whan said. “The LPGA vision is to inspire, empower and educate, and thanks to the best female golfers in the world, and our visionary partner RR Donnelley, we will be doing just that at the RR Donnelley LPGA Founders Cup.”

“I’m very excited about the 2011 schedule,” Tseng said from Rancho Mirage, where she returned today as Kraft Nabisco Championship defending champion to read to schoolchildren, receive the keys to the city and meet with media. “With the economic downturn, Commissioner Whan and his team have done a great job to secure as many events as they did in 2010. The addition of Taiwan and China events further prove we are truly a Global Tour. They have also done a great job to schedule the events that make our global travel a bit easier.

“I was very fortune to play many USGA Championships while I was a junior golfer from Taiwan, so I am thankful to the LPGA Founders for their vision and dedication that has allowed me to play on the best stage of women's golf. To honor our Founders, I fully support the RR Donnelley LPGA Founders Cup. Through this event, we can all give back to LPGA-USGA Girls Golf program to support the future of the women's golf.”

Players participating in the RR Donnelley LPGA Founders Cup, a new 54-hole, stroke-play event to be televised on the Golf Channel, will forgo a tournament purse in favor of financially supporting the LPGA Foundation that runs the LPGA-USGA Girls Golf program. The tournament, with a field of 132 players, will help raise funds to grow the game at a grass-roots level much as Marilynn Smith, Shirley Spork, Louise Suggs, Marlene Bauer Hagge, Bettye Danoff and the 8 other LPGA Founders first set out to accomplish more than 60 years ago.

The event will be held March 18-20 at Wildfire Golf Club at JW Marriott Phoenix Desert Ridge Resort and Spa in Arizona. RR Donnelley, the world's leading printing and integrated communications services company, will use the RR Donnelley LPGA Founders Cup to expand on its role as "Official Print Provider of the LPGA.” The tournament will be officially sanctioned, thus providing official LPGA and World Golf Halls of Fame and Rolex Rankings points, as well as official statistics and impact to the LPGA Official Money List purposes.

“We are very proud to help make possible this special event which will provide scholarship and other assistance to girls and young women,” said Thomas J. Quinlan III, RR Donnelley’s Present and Chief Executive Officer. “The special character of the RR Donnelley LPGA Founders Cup celebrates enduring values and outstanding achievement. Since our own founding in 1864 and throughout our continued evolution into a global provider of integrated communications, we have worked around the world to bring these same qualities to our business.”

The Ladies Professional Golf Association (LPGA) was established in 1950 by 13 brave women who set stereotypes aside to provide economic opportunities for women and girls. The LPGA owes its long and distinguished history to the hard work and dedication of these 13 women who not only formed the Association, but also organized tournaments, drafted by-laws, set up golf courses and did everything necessary to make professional golf a possibility for women.

LPGA-USGA Girls Golf is the LPGA's primary junior golf initiative which introduces girls from the ages of 7 to 17 to all areas of the game. The program also teaches the values inherent in the game itself – patience, perseverance, honesty and respect, providing young girls with the building blocks to become future role models both on and off the golf course. Many LPGA members, including 2010 LPGA-USGA Girls Golf National Ambassador Brittany Lincicome, Morgan Pressel and Vicky Hurst, were introduced to the game of golf through LPGA-USGA Girls Golf. The program is supported by all of the major golf organizations led by the USGA, but also including the EWGA (Executive Women’s Golf Association), PGA Tour, PGA of America and the Masters Tournament. In recent years, LPGA players have made significant donations to the LPGA-USGA Girls Golf program, including Inbee Park, who donated $50,000 in 2008, and Na Yeon Choi, who donated $30,000 last year.

LPGA-USGA Girls Golf has nearly 200 sites around the country and has served more than 60,000 participants since its inception in 1989. Girls Golf was originally established in Phoenix—where the inaugural RR Donnelley LPGA Founders Cup will be held—by LPGA Teaching & Club Professional (T&CP) member Sandy LaBauve.

“With the introduction of the RR Donnelley LPGA Founders Cup, the LPGA and USGA will be able to more than double the revenues/donations to Girls Golf, and significantly increase the program’s exposure, impact and coverage,” said LPGA Tour legend Nancy Lopez, a new member of the LPGA Foundation Board of Directors.

The 2011 LPGA Tour schedule also will feature the inaugural Titleholders, a season finale with a field made up of three qualifiers from every official LPGA Tour tournament, a format never previously used in professional golf. The “Countdown to Titleholders” will be a season-long unifying program that showcases the best performing players from the 2011 LPGA Tour season, and also highlights each and every title sponsor on the LPGA Tour. The 2011 LPGA Tour schedule will feature 25 official money events in 12 countries, plus the bi-annual Solheim Cup matches pitting the United States against Europe.

“Each week, we’ll talk about who is “in” for Titleholders, which enables us to discuss our key title partners every week, not just during their tournament,” Whan said. “In fact, at the Titleholders tournament, we will showcase every tournament title sponsor so you’ll see Kraft Nabisco, State Farm, Wegmans, Safeway, Evian and all our business partners represented. It truly will be a celebration of the partners who make the LPGA so special.”

The LPGA Tour season kicks off with back-to-back tournaments in Asia—the Honda LPGA Thailand (Feb. 18-20) and HSBC Women’s Champions in Singapore (Feb. 24-27). The season’s first major, the Kraft Nabisco Championship (March 31-April 3), will celebrate its 40th anniversary following the RR Donnelley LPGA Founders Cup (March 18-20) and the LPGA’s return to the Los Angeles area when the Kia Classic is held at Industry Hills Golf Club at Pacific Palms from March 24-27.

Among other highlights of the LPGA Tour schedule released today:

-Following its purchase of Bell Micro, Avnet now will serve as the title sponsor of the popular Mobile, Alabama tournament, to be held April 28-May 1 following the Tres Marias Championship;

-The Sybase Match Play Championship, ShopRite LPGA Classic and LPGA State Farm Classic will return as U.S. tournaments preceding the season’s second major, the Wegmans LPGA Championship. Wegmans has stepped up as title sponsor after serving as Presenting Sponsor in 2010, and will increase the 2011 purse to $2.5 million. The Jamie Farr Owens Corning Classic Presented by Kroger will not be conducted in 2011 but will return for 2012-2014;

-Paula Creamer will defend her U.S. Women’s Open title on the challenging, picturesque East Course at The Broadmoor in Colorado Springs, Colorado July 7-10;

-The traditional two-tournament European swing of the Evian Masters (July 21-24) and RICOH Women’s British Open (July 28-31) will be followed Aug. 5-7 by the new Imperial Springs LPGA in Guangzhou, Guangdong, China in a partnership with the China Golf Association (CGA) and China LPGA. This represents a big financial run for the LPGA superstars, as they’ll compete for purses of $3.25 million, $2.5 million and $2.0 million over the course of these three weeks;

-The Safeway Classic Presented by Coca-Cola Aug. 19-21 will return the LPGA to North America as one of the LPGA’s summer highlights. The CN Canadian Women’s Open follows, to be played in the Montreal area Aug. 25-28 as Michelle Wie defends her title at the Hillsdale Golf & Country Club in Mirabel, Quebec;

-Walmart joins the LPGA as a title sponsor for the first time at the Walmart NW Arkansas Championship Presented by P&G, to be held Sept. 9-11 at Pinnacle Country Club in Rogers, Arkansas. Walmart previously served as Presenting Sponsor while P&G served as Title Sponsor. The Navistar LPGA Classic Presented by Monaco RV will move up earlier in the year, to be played in Prattville, Alabama from September 15-18, and will represent the final tournament held prior to the Solheim Cup;

-The highly anticipated bi-annual Solheim Cup, pitting U.S. players vs. European players representing the Ladies European Tour (LET), will be held at Killeen Castle in Dunsany, Ireland from Sept. 23-25;

-The LPGA Tour travels to Asia in October with the LPGA Hana Bank Championship in South Korea, Sime Darby LPGA Malaysia and the new LPGA Taiwan Championship. The inaugural event in Taiwan, to be contested at the Sunrise Golf & Country Club in Yang Mei, Taoyuan will feature a $2 million purse through a partnership with the Golf Association of the Republic of China (GAROC);

-The players continue their season-ending global experience with the Mizuno Classic in Japan, the Lorena Ochoa Invitational in Mexico and the Titleholders finale held November 17-20. Players at Titleholders will represent tournaments that they won or where they qualified (three per tournament) while competing for a purse of $1.5 million. Among the unique branding elements that fans will see at Titleholders will be caddie bids featuring LPGA tournament logos from the tournaments at which the player qualified as well as trophies and flags from each event surrounding the 18th green.

“We’re pleased that Golf’s Global Tour was able to withstand the economic downturn by securing 23 of its existing 24 events from 2010, a reflection of our renewed commitment to our partners,” Whan said. “At the same time, we’re thrilled to add new ideas and new tournaments in the U.S., Taiwan and China. Fans certainly will enjoy a revitalized LPGA that will continue to grow in the U.S. and other countries through 2012 and beyond.”

Topics: Press Release

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