The Ladies Professional Golf Association has announced a revamp of its LPGA Championship under a significant new partnership for the major tournament with the PGA of America and professional services firm KPMG.
Under the terms of the deal, the LPGA and PGA of America will become partners in the tournament, which will be renamed the KPMG Women's PGA Championship through KPMG assuming title sponsorship.
One of five majors on the LPGA Tour, the LPGA Championship was won by Korea’s Inbee Park last year at Locust Hill Country Club in Pittsford, New York. It is set to remain in Pittsford for this year’s edition at Monroe Golf Club on August 14-17 before changing to its new identity in 2015 at Westchester Country Club in New York from June 8-14.
The Women's PGA Championship will be the first women’s major operated by the PGA of America, while KPMG will also use its title sponsorship to host a major conference around the tournament that brings together top female executives from business, politics, sports and society.
“Of anything we've done over the last 18 months, there's nothing I'm more excited about than this,” Pete Bevacqua, chief executive of the PGA of America, told the Associated Press news agency. “We're excited because we feel we need to do something big, something important with the women's game. Our two key mandates are serving our members and growing the game. And so much of growing the game is getting more women involved.”
The Championship’s prize purse will increase in 2015 to $3.5m (€2.55m), up from $2.25m this year. It will become only the second LPGA Tour event on US network television, joining the U.S. Women's Open. As part of a broadcast deal with the Golf Channel, NBC will offer weekend coverage of the tournament.
The LPGA said the event will rotate annually among prestigious courses in major metropolitan markets, although commissioner Mike Whan added that most of the championships will be in the New York area, granting KPMG a strong market to host its business forum.
Whan said in a statement: “The LPGA Championship has a very proud 60-year tradition and I couldn’t be more excited to carry this forward in an even bigger way with the partnership of KPMG, the PGA of America and NBC. The Championship will now reach even greater levels of global exposure, player opportunities, and community impact. This event will change lives – both for the female professionals that will compete in the KPMG Women’s PGA Championship, and for the women it will impact in both the women’s leadership summit and community initiative.”
The LPGA Championship began in 1955, five years after the birth of the Ladies Professional Golf Association.