Though the regular season is over, the season-long awards have been meted out and the Race to the CME Globe champion has been crowned, you haven’t yet seen the last of the LPGA Tour. There is one final event being unveiled this week in Naples, Fla., where fans will be able to watch the LPGA Tour’s best compete alongside their counterparts on the PGA Tour. The inaugural Grant Thornton Invitational, co-sanctioned by the PGA Tour, is finally here.
The Grant Thornton Invitational will consist of three days of team competition and each day will introduce a different format. Friday, the first day of competition, will feature a scramble format. In a scramble, each player will hit a tee shot and then the team will select the ball they will use for their next shot. Both players will hit their next shots from that spot, with the process continuing until the ball is holed. Saturday will see the most traditional of the three formats as the field will play foursomes, also known as alternate shot. Each team will alternate hitting shots with the same ball with one player teeing off the even-numbered holes and the other teeing off the odd-numbered holes. The final round will feature a modified four-ball format. In this format, both players will tee off, then switch balls for their second shots and play that ball until it is holed. At the end of the day on Sunday, a purse of $4 million will be equally distributed to the field.
The Grant Thornton Invitational boasts a 32-player field comprised of 16 mixed teams that feature some of the best talent each Tour has to offer. Collectively, the field has 141 LPGA Tour and PGA Tour victories, 25 of which occurred this season, and 11 major champions, including all five major winners from the 2023 LPGA Tour season. The 16 teams will be: Nelly Korda and Tony Finau, Lexi Thompson and Rickie Fowler, Lilia Vu and Joel Dahmen, Brooke Henderson and Corey Conners, Rose Zhang and Sahith Theegala, Charley Hull and Justin Rose, Megan Khang and Denny McCarthy, Lydia Ko and Jason Day, Celine Boutier and Harris English, Andrea Lee and Billy Horschel, Mel Reid and Russell Henley, Cheyenne Knight and Tom Hoge, Madelene Sagstrom and Ludvig Aberg, Allisen Corpuz and Cameron Champ, Ruoning Yin and Nick Taylor, and Leona Maguire and Lucas Glover.
Though meeting any of the 32 players would leave the average golf fan starstruck, there are a few teams that stand out from the rest. Rolex Women’s World Golf Rankings No. 1 Vu is teaming up with Netflix superstar Dahmen to create a team that might just have the perfect balance of fun personalities and lights-out golf. Zhang and Theegala are the youngest team in the field at 20 and 25 years old, respectively, but their popularity as up-and-coming stars is undeniable. Both players found their first wins this season – which Zhang did in stunning fashion in her professional debut at the Mizuho Americas Open – and combine for 11 top-10 finishes in 2023. Finally, the two European teams – English compatriots Hull and Rose alongside the Swedish duo of Sagstrom and Aberg – should be dangerous competitors in team play after all four had a hand in taking home both the Solheim and Ryder Cups this summer.
While some of the 16 PGA Tour players might not have seen Tiburón Golf Club before, the 16 LPGA Tour players will feel right at home when they tee it up this week. Just a few weeks after the CME Group Tour Championship was contested at Tiburón Golf Club, the Grant Thornton Invitational will bring the LPGA Tour right back to Naples, Fla. Playing at such a familiar destination, the LPGA Tour players will surely have some sound and battle-tested advice for their PGA Tour counterparts. Especially Vu, Yin and Korda, who all finished inside the top 10 at last month’s CME Group Tour Championship. There are three past champions of the LPGA’s season-ending tournament in the field – Ko (2014, 2022), Thompson (2018) and Hull (2016) – and all will be able to provide even more invaluable insights to their male counterparts.
How to Watch
Luckily for fans, the Grant Thornton Invitational will enjoy nine hours of live broadcast coverage, including four hours of network television. The first day of competition will be televised on Golf Channel from 1-4 p.m. ET and second-round coverage will begin on Golf Channel from 2-3 p.m. ET before moving to NBC from 3-5 p.m. ET. Final round coverage will follow the same pattern with the first hour of competition televised on Golf Channel from 1-2 p.m. ET before switching to NBC from 2-4 p.m. ET.