5. Play By The Rules
The USGA announced some modifications to their rules for 2016, changing the penalties assessed in several situations. Here are a few highlights of those most likely to affect players on Tour:
- Players previously penalized one stroke for a ball that is believed to have moved at address will no long incur a penalty unless there is evidence to show the ball actually moved.
- Players will no longer be disqualified for signing an incorrect scorecard when a penalty has been assessed on a hole without the player’s knowledge.
- Players will no longer be disqualified on a first offense for using rangefinders or similar items on the course. Players will, however, incur a two-stroke penalty. Disqualification will occur for an additional offense.
These rules, in addition to the anchoring ban, will go into effect January 1, 2016.
4. Busy Schedule
The LPGA Tour has 34 events on the schedule for 2016 including the addition of two events from 2015, increasing the total purse to $63 million for the year, the largest in the history of the Tour.
The season will start at the Pure Silk Bahamas LPGA Classic on January 25. The 2015 season opener, the Coates Golf Championship moves to the first week of February. Click here for the season's complete schedule.
3. Welcome To The Tour
29 players make up the 2016 LPGA Rookie Class, headlined by 2015 U.S. Women’s Open champion In Gee Chun who earned membership with her victory. Gaby Lopez and Holly Clyburn were among those who earned their card in December at the LPGA Qualifying Tournament. Click here to learn more about each of the 2016 rookies.
2. 10th Anniversary for Inbee Park
World No.2 Inbee Park made history in 2015 in achieving the Career Grand Slam at the RICOH Women’s British Open. She finished the season with the lowest scoring average, securing the Vare Trophy for the second time in her career and with it earned the final point needed to qualify for the LPGA Hall of Fame. Park’s final qualification for induction will be met this year with the completion of her 10th season on Tour, making her the youngest to qualify for the Hall.
Park will also have the chance to make history again in chasing her fourth consecutive victory at the KPMG Women’s PGA Championship. With a win, Park would match Laura Davies with four straight wins in the same event, which she achieved between 1994 and 1997 at the Standard Register PING. The record for consecutive victories in a single event is five, held by Annika Sorenstam who won the Mizuno Classic between 2001 and 2005.
1. Special Events
The second playing of the UL International Crown will be held this summer, July 21-24 just outside Chicago, Illinois. The Merit Club will host the team event, which pits the world’s top-8 countries against each other over the course of four days of competition. Spain won the inaugural playing of the event in 2014 but is currently outside the top-8 in the rankings. Click here for the current UL International Crown standings.
For the first time since 1904, golf will be included in the Olympics. The world’s best male and female golfers will compete in Rio de Janeiro this August, the men competing first followed by the ladies during the week of August 15. The top -0 players from around the world qualify based on their Rolex Ranking.