Good thing they came back.
Last year’s Pure Silk Bahamas LPGA Classic – held in May, which we all learned is the rainy season on Paradise Island – was, to use the vernacular of tournament organizers, “a challenge.” A foot of rain fell in an eight-hour stretch on the Tuesday before that opening round, flooding six holes. The event was shortened to 36 holes across three days with the tour scrambling to create a 12-hole layout from the holes that weren’t completely submerged.
Now, the event is held in January and the weather and golf course are perfect. It also marks a return of the LPGA to the Western Hemisphere in the early part of the year, something we haven’t seen since the season-opening event was held at Grand Cypress in Orlando, Fla., in the late ’90s.
With the wind chill dipping to 22-below-zero in Chicago, LPGA officials hope that shots of their players in shorts playing in the shores of the Caribbean will stir the interest of many.
“It’s very nice to be in the Bahamas,” Stacy Lewis said. “But to start out season in January, it’s a huge thing for this tour. It just kind of shows the momentum we have, and it’s great.
“The offseason was a little short, but other than that, it’s great to be here, and it’s nice, you still feel like you’re on vacation a little bit.”
With Lewis looking to regain her world No. 1 spot and Lydia Ko officially starting her rookie season, LPGA officials hope this event – and the beauty of the Bahamas in January – will spur early-season interest in the tour.
And with the new $1 million season-long bonus, they hope that interest that will carry forward throughout the year.