Dr. Handa, a Japanese businessman, philanthropist and avid supporter of women’s professional golf and the Legends of the LPGA, elected to postpone the 2016 international competition and plans to stage the next event overseas in late spring or early summer of 2017.
“While we are disappointed this premier event will not be played in America this year after all, we very much appreciate Dr. Handa’s continued support and respect his wishes to relocate this world-class event to an international venue,” said Legends Tour CEO Jane Blalock.
“We were thrilled to stage our premier event in Sarasota last fall at Palm Aire Country Club,” added Blalock. “And we remain optimistic that The Legends Tour will return to this fantastic club, should the opportunity present itself in the future.”
Palm Aire Country Club, designed in the late 1950s by legendary golf course architect Dick Wilson, has hosted many professional events over the years, including tournaments won by the LPGA’s Louise Suggs and the PGA’s Sam Snead in the 1960s.
“On behalf of Palm Aire, I have to say while we are disappointed in the recent change of plans for the ISPS Handa Cup, we were proud to have hosted the premier event on The Legends Tour schedule,” said Joe Rassett, General Manager and COO of Palm Aire Country Club.
Praised by area attendees, tournament officials and organizers, the ISPS Handa Cup drew thousands of fans to the Sarasota-Bradenton region at last year’s event and featured American-born Legends of the LPGA competing against Legends from around the world in a two-day, 36-hole team event.
World-renown LPGA Tour veterans, such as Laura Davies, Juli Inkster, Jan Stephenson, Pat Bradley and Beth Daniel, appeared in the event. LPGA and World Golf Hall of Famer Nancy Lopez, perhaps the most recognized name in the history of the women’s game, served as captain of the U.S. Team. Team USA edged the World, 26-22 in a close contest that came down to the last shot.
“Palm Aire did a wonderful job hosting the Handa Cup,” said Blalock. “We certainly wanted to come back, but we also look forward to continuing this event’s long and storied tradition wherever Dr. Handa may take us. He is a true champion of our sport, and we are confident that the ISPS Handa Cup, wherever it is played, will continue to showcase his contagious spirit and deep appreciation for healthy competition.”
For more information on The Legends Tour, please visit www.thelegendstour.com.