The 2010 LPGA season begins in Thailand on 18 February and ends in the United States on 21 November with the LPGA Tour Championship, which just played this week in Texas. 24 tournaments, including 13 in the United States, make up the U.S. Tour calendar, the calendar has been reduced for the first time in almost 40 years.
Returning to the schedule, 15 tournaments next year, eight of which have small prize pools, six remain the same and three will be increased, including the Wegman’s tournament, which was referred to an auction for almost becoming a ‘major’, now sponsoring the LPGA Championship for a year. Three are left to be defined and other novelty events are compared to the current year.
The tournament, which annually sponsors Wegman Rochester, New York, is now the second ‘major’ of the season, the LPGA Championship, replacing the former sponsor McDonald’s. Meanwhile, the first tournament to be played in U.S. will not be until the last week in March with the J Golf Classic, played in Phoenix this year and from now on will be at La Costa, California. With the absence of the Sybase Classic and a stop in Phoenix, the start of the year varies considerably.
Furthermore, the prize pools of three tournaments have not yet been announced. The Tour had 34 tournaments in 2008 and 27 this year, even though they had been announced 31 in the current season. Besides the fact that in 2010 there are 24 events listed, there are 17 weeks off between the first and the last tournament.
No doubt this is a consequence of poor economic management with the sponsors of some tournaments by the former commissioner, Carolyn Bivens. Even so, the commissioner, Marty Evans, managed to recover some of them, though with lower prize pools.
In fact, the history of the LPGA Tour schedule is like a glass of water: half empty and half full. The 2010 season calendar was launched this week in the previous LPGA Tour Championship, the final event of one of the most difficult years of the women’s tour since 1971. However, the fact that Evans has faced a tough economy and angry calls to sponsors is one of the highlights of the year. "It is the buyers market," Evans said, and buyers clearly understand it.
"We have made great achievements in our long term goal of building an intelligent and sustainable timetable for the LPGA Tour," Evans said. "The LPGA Tour has been great this year in competition, particularly in recent weeks. We also have thrill, leadership and a new commissioner (Mike Whan) ready to take the new charge. We hope to have a wonderful season finale this week and a bright future for 2010 and future years to come.
Photo: Wikipedia.org/Roman Gomez