As Mike Whan promised at the season-ending CME Group Tour Championship, the 2017 LPGA schedule became official this week. And the tour continues to grow in all the right ways.
Next year’s schedule features 35 events around the globe with an LPGA-record $67.35 million in prize money. While some might criticize the tour for not making an appearance in North America until mid-March at the Bank of Hope Founders Cup in Phoenix, Whan was quick to point out that the largest growth in new events has, in fact, been domestic.
“While we receive credit for being a global tour, we’re just as proud that we’ve added more events in North America since 2011 then we have abroad,” the commissioner said through a statement. “It’s an exciting time for our organization and we cannot wait to start another great season in January.”
That is true. Since 2011, the number of North American-based events has grown from 15 to 22 (two of those being in Canada and Mexico) while the number of non-North American events has increased from 10 to 13. However, the number of domestic events has held steady since 2014.
The tour lost a couple of U.S. events for next year, including the Coates Golf Championship in Ocala, Fla., a hugely popular event among locals which historically came in early February on the heels of the season-opener in the Bahamas. The Yokohama Tire LPGA Classic in Prattville, Ala., site of 2016 Player of the Year Ariya Jutanugarn’s maiden victory, also has gone away. In their place are the Thornberry Creek LPGA Classic in Oneida, Wis., and the Indy Women in Tech event at Brickyard Crossing in Indianapolis.
Other new events include the Aberdeen Asset Management Ladies Scottish Open, which will be held at Dundonald Links the week before the Ricoh Women’s British Open, and the McKayson New Zealand Women’s Open in Auckland the last week of September.
Match play also returns to the tour as the Lorena Ochoa event in Mexico City has been moved from November to early May and reformatted to bring a 64-player match-play event back to the tour for the first time since the Sybase Championship went away in 2012.
“I’m excited about the opportunities our 2017 tournament schedule provides to our players with increased purses, tremendous television exposure and our biggest events elevating to new heights,” Whan said.
2017 LPGA Tour Season By the Numbers:
|# of Events||35||33||25|
|# of Official Events||34||32||23|
|Official Money Purses||$67.35M||$57.55M||$41.5M|
|Events at $2 million||16||13||8|
|Events In North America||22||22||15|
|Events Outside of North America||13||11||10|