It’s been 13 years since the LPGA played in Los Angeles, an oft-forgotten fact given the tour’s California stops in Carlsbad and San Francisco and golf’s first major of every year, the ANA Inspiration in Palm Desert.
That’s changing this April. On Wednesday, LPGA officials announced the formation of the Hugel-JTBC Open, which will be played April 19-22 at historic Wilshire Country Club, one of the great, classic courses in California.
This will be a full-field event (144 players) with a $1.5 million purse. But it’s the golf course that will get the most attention. Built in 1919, Wilshire sits in the heart of Hollywood, with the famous sign on Mount Lee visible from the site. It has hosted the Glen Campbell Los Angeles Open, and was one of several L.A. area courses that hosted the old LPGA Office Depot Championship. Annika Sorenstam won that last of those events played in Wilshire in 2001.
“Wilshire Country Club is a strong proponent of women’s golf and our members are honored and excited about today’s announcement,” club president David Damus said in a statement. “Hosting the LPGA at Wilshire is a great opportunity for golf enthusiasts throughout Southern California to witness the best female golfers in the world.”
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Players and tour officials are thrilled to be back. “We’re very excited to take the LPGA back to Los Angeles and historic Wilshire Country Club, adding to the tour’s already prominent presence in Southern California,” commissioner Mike Whan said. “We want to thank our good friends at Hugel, JTBC and Eiger Marketing Group for providing us the opportunity to bring the stars of golf’s global tour to the heart of Hollywood and put on a show in one of the largest broadcast markets in the world.”
Hugel Inc. is a South Korean maker of botox and other beauty products, and JTBC is a South Korean media company. Eiger Marketing Group will own and operate the event.
“We’re excited to be part of the LPGA’s return to Los Angeles,” said J.S. Kang, a former agent with Sterling Sports Management, which represents Stacy Lewis and Brittany Lincicome, among others. Kang is now the tournament director for the HUGEL-JTBC Open. “We look forward to engaging with community, business and civic leaders to put on a world-class event.”