LPGA Tour’s 35-event schedule boasts largest total prize money in Tour history and new events both domestic and abroad
DAYTONA BEACH, Fla., November 30, 2016 - The Ladies Professional Golf Association (LPGA) today announced its 2017 schedule which includes the addition of four new tournaments, the return of the Solheim Cup stateside and an increase of $4.35 million in total official prize money.
LPGA Commissioner Mike Whan made the announcement on Wednesday revealing next year’s 35-event LPGA Tour schedule which boasts an LPGA record $67.35 million in total official prize money. In addition to four new events on the LPGA schedule, 11 of the 30 returning official events will feature increased purses in 2017. Four of the Tour’s five major championships in 2017 will have higher purses, including a $5 million purse at the U.S. Women’s Open conducted by the USGA that will be the largest purse in LPGA history.
“I’m excited about the opportunities our 2017 tournament schedule provides to our players with increased purses, tremendous television exposure and our biggest events elevating to new heights,” said Whan. “While we receive credit for being a global tour, we’re just as proud that we’ve added more events in North America since 2011 then we have abroad. It’s an exciting time for our organization and we cannot wait to start another great season in January.”
The LPGA will introduce four new tournaments during the 2017 season, two in the United States and two internationally.
- The first new LPGA stop debuts when the Tour visits Oneida, Wisconsin July 6-9 for the Thornberry Creek LPGA Classic. Nestled in between the season’s second and third major championships, players will compete on the Thornberry Creek at Oneida golf course for a $2 million purse. It will be the first time the LPGA or PGA Tour has hosted a sanctioned event in the Green Bay area.
- Three weeks later, the LPGA travels across the pond to play the Aberdeen Asset Management Ladies Scottish Open, July 27-30 at Dundonald Links in Ayrshire, Scotland. A co-sanctioned event between the LPGA and LET with a purse of $1.5 million, the tournament will be contested on the same course as the men’s Scottish Open. It will also kick off a two-week stint in Scotland as the Ladies Scottish Open leads in to the season’s fourth major, the RICOH Women’s British Open, which will take place at Kingsbarns in 2017.
- In September, the Tour makes a pit stop in Indianapolis, Indiana for a $2 million purse at the Indy Women in Tech (IWIT) Championship Presented by Guggenheim. Taking place September 7-10, players will compete on the Pete Dye-designed Brickyard Crossing Golf Course that weaves through the famed Indianapolis Motor Speedway. It’s another addition to the Midwest region where the Tour has added four of its six new North American events since 2014.
- Following the season’s final major at The Evian Championship, the LPGA will take a week off before traveling to the home of Rolex Rankings No. 1 and Olympic Silver Medalist Lydia Ko to play in the MCKAYSON New Zealand Women’s Open from September 28-October 1. The event will be the first of seven consecutive tournaments in the Asia-Pacific region before the Tour returns to Naples for the season finale at the CME Group Tour Championship.
On top of the announcement of these new events on the 2017 schedule, the LPGA also recently signed a 10-year partnership with Alisports (Shanghai) CO., LTD, a division of Alibaba Group, to stage an LPGA event in Mainland China annually for the next decade. The tournament will be held in conjunction with the China Golf Association and the China LPGA Tour (CLPGA). Next year’s event is scheduled to be played October 5-8 at Reignwood Pine Valley in Changping District, China. In addition, the LPGA will continue in beautiful Hainan Island, China with the Blue Bay LPGA Classic. Blue Bay LPGA will move to the last event of the Fall Asia swing in 2017, and will take place from Wednesday-Saturday – giving players the time needed to return to Naples for the CME Group Tour Championship, the final stop in the Race to the CME Globe.
MATCH PLAY RETURNS
The Lorena Ochoa Invitational will transition into a match play tournament and will move from the fall to the spring on next year’s schedule.
Previously played in November, the newly named Lorena Ochoa Match Play will take place May 4-7, 2017 and will become the Tour’s lone official match play event. The field will feature 64 players competing for a purse of $1.2 million at Club de Golf México in Mexico City, which has served as the tournament site for the Invitational since 2014. The event will also mark the first match play tournament on the Tour’s schedule since the Sybase Match Play Championship in 2012.
PURSES CONTINUE TO RISE
The 2016 season saw a record 15 LPGA players surpass $1 million in single season earnings. In 2017, the Tour will see purse increases in more than a third of the returning scheduled events and the four new events on the schedule will feature a total of $6.8 million in prize money.
A total of 11 events on the LPGA Tour schedule will increase their purse sizes for next season, raising the overall total purse to $67.35 million in 2017. Sixteen events will feature purses of $2 million or higher, which is double the amount the Tour had back in 2011.
“Our goal has been to consistently move the needle forward in providing increased financial opportunities for our members and increased value for our sponsors,” Whan said. “We are excited to see these increases for 2017 and we look forward to continuing to grow overall prize money in future years.”
Players will compete for $17.8 million across the Tour’s five major championships next year. Four majors will elevate their purses including the ANA Inspiration ($2.6M to $2.7M), the U.S Women’s Open ($4.5M to $5M), the RICOH Women’s British Open ($3M to $3.25M), and The Evian Championship ($3.25M to $3.35M). In the final event of the season, the CME Group Tour Championship will raise its purse from $2M to $2.5M.
The following tournaments also will raise their purses in 2017: Kia Classic ($1.7M to $1.8M), LOTTE Championship Presented by Hershey ($1.8 to $2M), Lorena Ochoa Match Play ($1M to $1.2M), Marathon Classic Presented by Owens Corning & O-I ($1.5M to $1.6M), and the Manulife Classic ($1.6M to $1.7M).
The Swinging Skirts LPGA Taiwan Championship will also move from a $2 million purse to $2.2 million as Swinging Skirts takes over as the new title sponsor in Taiwan. The increased purse will make it the highest among the LPGA’s Asian events.
MAJOR MOVEMENT ON THE TOUR’S LARGEST STAGES
The stages are grand and the stakes are high among the biggest events on the 2017 LPGA Tour schedule.
The ANA Inspiration with a purse of $2.7 million continues its annual tradition as golf’s first major on the iconic Dinah Shore Tournament Course at Mission Hills Country Club in Rancho Mirage, California.
Starting in late June, three major championships will be featured in a span of six weeks that is part of a larger stretch of 12 consecutive weeks of tournament play. Olympia Fields Country Club, a site of multiple men’s PGA Championships and U.S. Opens, will host the KPMG Women’s PGA Championship with a $3.5 million purse from June 29-July 2. Two weeks later on July 13-16, players will compete for a record purse of $5 million at the U.S. Women’s Open conducted by the USGA at Trump National Golf Club, Bedminster. At the end of the six-week stretch will be the RICOH Women’s British Open which will be played August 3-6 with a $3.25 million purse. Kingsbarns will host the event for the first time although it is no stranger to golf fans, as the course has co-hosted the European Tour’s Dunhill Links Championship with The Old Course at St Andrews and Carnoustie Golf Links since 2001.
The fifth and final major on the 2017 schedule will be The Evian Championship in Evian-les-Bains, France, taking place from September 14-17 for a $3.35 million prize. In Gee Chun will look to defend her title after setting a new scoring record for majors, male or female, with her 21-under performance at the Evian Resort Golf Club in 2016.
Players will culminate the season November 16-19 competing for a $2.5 million purse, plus a $1 million grand prize for the winner of the season-long Race to the CME Globe at the CME Group Tour Championship – the final event of the year.
RETURN OF THE SOLHEIM CUP
The United States will seek to defend their 2015 title on home soil against Team Europe as the 2017 Solheim Cup returns to the Midwest. Hosted at Des Moines Golf and Country Club, site of the 1999 U.S. Senior Open Championship, the 15th staging of the team match-play event will take place August 18-20 and is expected to be the biggest ever thanks to the overwhelming support of the Des Moines community, strong global ticket sales numbers and prestigious corporate sponsorships.
Currently ticket sales are up 60% in comparison to the same time prior to the 2013 Solheim Cup in Parker, Colorado, while ticket purchasers have come from 48 states and eight different countries. Tournament organizers are anticipating the construction of nearly 50 hospitality suites in what is tracking to be the largest build in Solheim Cup history.
In 2015, The United States engineered the largest comeback in Solheim Cup history by winning eight of the 12 Sunday singles matches and earning one halve to rally back from a 10-6 final day deficit and defeat the Europeans 14 ½ - 13 ½. The result was the narrowest winning margin in Solheim Cup history and the first victory for Team USA since 2009. Juli Inkster will captain the Americans this year and Annika Sorenstam will captain Team Europe.
2017 LPGA Tour Season By the Numbers:
|# of Events||35||33||25|
|# of Official Events||34||32||23|
|Official Money Purses||$67.35M||$57.55M||$41.5M|
|Events at $2 million||16||13||8|
|Events In North America||22||22||15|
|Events Outside of North America||13||11||10|