SUGAR LAND, Texas – Zayra Calderon looks at the LPGA’s smallest schedule in nearly 40 years and sees what others don’t.
She looks at a total prize-money package that could be a whopping $24 million less than what players competed for last year and sees what numbers don’t reveal.
The tour’s vice president of tournament development sees a successful rescue mission pulled together by a tireless staff.
Yes, tournaments were lost, purses rolled back, but there were vital saves to salvage a solid skeleton for the tour to build upon.
From nine tournaments signed up in July to the 23 announced Wednesday with a 24th imminent, the LPGA schedule has shrunk from the 34 played last year. Still, the schedule looks large to Calderon, who was on the point in the schedule's reconstruction after the ouster of commissioner Carolyn Bivens in July.
“This is a big deal, what was put together in a short time frame,” Calderon said. “It’s a good schedule.
“I don’t know that this LPGA team could have worked any harder in a compressed period of time. We’re exhausted. We pulled everyone together to make this happen. I believe we’ve worked seven days a week since July, no weekends or days off without exception.”
The schedule is the smallest since 1971. The total prize money next year should end up somewhere around $40 million. LPGA pros played for a record $64 million last year, according to the tour media guide.
“What we’ve put together is more satisfying than frustrating,” Calderon said.
Calderon isn't slowing down, either. She spent the moments before Wednesday morning's news conference announcing the new schedule talking to potential future sponsors for the LPGA Championship.