There’s a new season-opener for the LPGA, an event that should earn a lot of attention because of its format. The tour will kick off 2019 in Florida with the Diamond Resorts Tournament of Champions, to be held from Jan. 17-20, 2019, at Tranquilo Golf Club at Four Seasons Resort Orlando.
The field will comprise winners from the last two LPGA seasons, along with some sponsor invitees, a few dozen celebrities and about 10 amateurs playing in two separate tournaments. The pros will compete in a 72-hole stroke-play event and the celebrities and amateurs will play a modified Stableford. All the celebrities and amateurs will be mixed in with the pros, so you’re likely to see someone like NHL Hall of Famer Grant Fuhr playing with Brittany Lincicome or Matthew McConaughey teeing it up with Lexi Thompson.
The purse for the women will be $1.2 million while the celebs will play for $500,000.
The best news for the LPGA is the fact that the weekend will be televised on NBC. More network coverage is a big goal for Commissioner Mike Whan. This is a start.
“We are so excited to join Diamond Resorts, Golf Channel and NBC to deliver a truly spectacular Tournament of Champions,” Whan said in a news release. “This will be an experience like none other on our tour and it will be revered as a great reward for LPGA players who play well enough to make it into the winner’s circle every year.”
“We are thrilled to sponsor the prestigious Tournament of Champions and are excited for this opportunity to continue furthering our relationship with the LPGA and their fantastic field of players,” said Mike Flaskey, CEO of Diamond Resorts.
The tournament will precede the Pure Silk-Bahamas LPGA Classic, which has been the season-opener for the last two years. Lincicome won that event in 2016 and 2017.