On January 26th, the LPGA announced Epson as the new title sponsor of the “Road to the LPGA.” The new partnership not only came with a fresh title but also monumental changes for the financial implications of Epson Tour players.
Being a player, I reflected on what this change means to me.
After looking back on my years in school and out on the golf course, I realized that having Epson as a part of the game is nothing new. From elementary school all the way through college, Epson has helped me produce papers, projects, and presentations that helped me graduate from one level to the next.
In my early days, the company helped bring my creative mind to life. Later on, it allowed me to take emotions from my heart and express them as physical words on a page. At the end of each year, Epson would print out report cards that would send me into the next grade.
When I received my college diploma, I thought that would be the last time these printers would play such an incremental part in my life.
Then just over three weeks ago all of that changed.
Epson's new role in the “Road to the LPGA” drastically affects the financial burden placed on LPGA Tour hopefuls. Along with the title sponsorship, Epson will increase purse sizes, decrease entry fees, and offer an Epson Ambassador program for those that earn LPGA status the following year.
On the LPGA qualifying tour, the margins are thin. The entry fees ring up to more than double the price to enter an LPGA event. Couple that with one-tenth of the purse sizes that you find on the LPGA Tour, and a player has needed to finish in the top 10 to break even each week. Thanks to Epson, our entry fees will be reduced $50 per tournament with the goal to eventually eliminate them all together. That may seem small, but over the course of the season that is $1,000. In a game of inches, a grand can mean the world.
Not only will the cost of entry be reduced, but our minimum purse sizes have increased $50,000. The French Lick Charity Classic will have the largest purse in tour history, soaring to more than $300,000. From a player's perspective, this is huge. It could be the difference between breaking even and falling into debit.
For that, we are extremely grateful.
Unlike years prior, Epson’s ink won’t boast my essays, presentations, or report cards. Instead, they will be printing paychecks and hopefully, a card that graduates me to the next level - the LPGA Tour.
Thank you, Epson, for investing in our game and each of us. We hope we exceed your vision as we write the next chapter in the “Road to the LPGA” and leave a lasting imprint as players on the Epson Tour.