Some of the greatest women’s golfers of all-time just didn’t have a big enough stage to showcase their amazing talent and that has bothered Steve Ferguson and Dave Harner of French Lick Resort for a number of years.
In December, the LPGA announced a five-year deal to host the Senior LPGA Championship on The Pete Dye Course at the French Lick Resort. The inaugural tournament is set for July 10-12.
The field of 81 players will feature a collection of past greats in the women’s game including LPGA and World Golf Hall of Fame members, current LPGA members and major champions over the age of 45. The 54-hole event will feature a total purse of $600,000.
On Monday in French Lick, Indiana – best known for the birthplace of Larry Bird -LPGA legends Jan Stephenson, Michelle McGann and Jane Blalock were in French Lick along with Symetra Tour professional Lindsay Gahm and representatives from the resort, Riley Hospital for Children and the state of Indiana to talk about the first ever major for former LPGA greats.
“We’ve hoped for an LPGA major for a long time and to have it come to fruition in French Lick with all of our friends and on this fabulous golf course is the ultimate,” said Blalock. “It gives me great satisfaction. So many people came together from the LPGA, French Lick and Golf Channel to make this happen.”
McGann said it is a dream come true.
“I started playing on the LPGA when I was 18 years old and now I stand here at 47 and I never dreamed that there would be an LPGA Senior Championship,” said McGann. “It’s overdue really, we should have had this years ago. Thanks to Mr. Ferguson and everyone here that said ‘let’s just get this done’.”
Proceeds from the Senior LPGA Championship will benefit Riley Children’s Foundation.
BJ Yoho, who was born with Spina Bifida and has faced over 15 surgeries since birth at Riley Hospital for Children, was in attendance the last two days at The French Lick Resort. He has come every year to The Legends Tour event in French Lick.
“I love how these wonderful people come together to play for a good cause,” said Yoho, 15. “They take an entire week to come here and do something so nice. They are so good at golf and I really like to come watch them.”
Stephenson, a 3-time major champion and the 1974 LPGA Tour Rookie of the Year, is excited about the new platform.
“We’re going to have two big tournaments now in the next couple years,” said Stephenson also referring to the USGA U.S. Senior Open. “It gives me something to look forward to since I can’t compete on the LPGA anymore. These big events help us have another life in the game of golf.”
The Golf Channel component is also a big win for Blalock and the rest of the Legends Tour players.
“It is so far reaching, Golf Channel will help expand the Legends Tour players,” said Blalock. “A lot of people don’t know there is a Tour for LPGA players that are 45 and older and now they will know. Even better, they are going to see how great these former players are.”
The list of players already committed includes World Golf Hall of Fame members Laura Davies and Patty Sheehan, and that has McGann over-the-moon excited.
“It is going to be like an old-school LPGA Tour event,” said McGann with a smile that lit up the room. “Don’t miss this opportunity and come see us.”