LPGA adds US, Chinese tournaments to 2018 schedule

The Ladies Professional Golf Association (LPGA) has added two new US tournaments, and one in China, to its 2018 calendar, stating that plans are in place for a further three new events in 2019, two of which will offer “unique formats”.

The LPGA has unveiled its 2018 schedule, which will remain at 34 events despite the addition of the three events. The Lorena Ochoa Match Play in Mexico and the Manulife LPGA Classic in Canada have dropped off the calendar, while the New Zealand Women’s Open will take a hiatus for 2018 and move to spring 2019.

The 2018 LPGA schedule will take in 14 countries, including two new events on the West Coast of the United States, for a record $68.75m (€58m) in prize money. After the LPGA’s standard week off following the ANA Inspiration, the opening major of the season, the Tour will return to Oahu, Hawaii, for the Lotte Championship on April 11-14. The Tour then moves to the greater Los Angeles area on April 19-22 for the inaugural Hugel-JTBC Championship. The host club for the tournament will be announced in early 2018.

The following week, on April 26-29, the Tour heads north to the Bay Area and a return to Lake Merced Golf Club for a new event sponsored by Korean skincare company L&P Cosmetic. Lake Merced, located just outside San Francisco, hosted the Swinging Skirts LPGA Championship from 2014 to 2016, before that sponsorship moved to the Tour’s event in Taipei in 2017. The official tournament name will be announced in early 2018.

“These two new events are perfect additions to our schedule,” LPGA commissioner Mike Whan said. “We believe they will offer terrific playing opportunities in wonderful golf environments, and make it more enticing for our players by strengthening this West Coast swing. They create a great four-week stretch that starts in Hawaii and finishes in Texas with our always exciting Volunteers of America LPGA Texas Classic, which is now being played at a new venue, Old American Golf Club.”

Additionally, a new event to be held in Shanghai, the LPGA’s only tournament on the mainland of China, will join the calendar on October 18-21 as part of the LPGA’s Fall Asian Swing. Further details about this new tournament, including the title and course, will be announced in 2018.

The LPGA said the move of the New Zealand Women’s Open to spring 2019 will pair it with the ISPS Handa Women’s Australian Open. The planned date adjustment of the Evian Championship major from its current mid-September slot to a summer date will aim to create a mid-summer European Swing, paired with the newly renamed Aberdeen Standard Investments Ladies Scottish Open and the Ricoh Women’s British Open.

The LPGA added that it has three new events – two with unique formats – already on the Tour schedule for 2019. More information on those events will be announced in the future.

“Perhaps the most important aspect of our schedule is the consistency — continuing to deliver strong playing opportunities both in North America and around the world, while growing overall purse levels every year,” Whan added. “There is simply no better Tour opportunity in the world, when it comes to purses, global TV coverage or strength of field.”

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