LPGA offers charitable donations to top five Founders Cup finishers
The tour announced today that it will donate $200,000 to the charities of choice for the top-five finishers at the inaugural event to be held March 18-20 in Phoenix.
According to tour officials, before teeing it up each player will be asked to designate a charity she’ll be playing for at Wildfire Golf Club at the JW Marriott Phoenix Desert Ridge Resort. The tournament will donate $100,000 to the charity of choice of the winner, $50,000 to the runner-up’s choice, $25,000 to the third-place finisher’s choice, $15,000 to fourth-place’s choice and $10,000 to fifth-place’s.
The tournament aims to honor the LPGA’s pioneering founders and will feature a $1.3 million “mock purse” with tour pros getting credit for official earnings on the money list without actually pocketing money. The $1.3 million purse is all imaginary money, uniquely devised by the tour to put the focus on donating back. Tour officials told GolfChannel.com last week that they were aiming to raise $500,000 for the LPGA Foundation to support the LPGA-USGA Girls’ Golf Program. The $200,000 donation to player charities is in addition to that LPGA Foundation goal.
Today’s announcements follow news earlier this week that Suzann Pettersen won’t play because of concerns about how the event’s being structured, that Paula Creamer and Cristie Kerr are uncertain they’ll play because of similar frustrations with tournament planning, and that Morgan Pressel shares the same reservations. Each of the players expressed support of the event’s cause and charitable ambition but concern over how quickly the Founders Cup final plans were pushed through.
In Friday’s LPGA news release, the tour announced that Rolex Player of the Year Yani Tseng, Natalie Gulbis, Christina Kim, Brittany Lincicome, Angela Stanford and Kristy McPherson are among early commitments to the 132-player field.
LPGA commissioner Mike Whan said Friday that RR Donnelley is putting up the same amount that other tournament title sponsors put into an LPGA event. Typically, according to tour officials, title sponsors put up as much as $2 million to fund a tour event.
“The great thing here is that RR Donnelley is paying full title sponsor money, including television costs, just like any other title sponsor would,” Whan said. “In this case, we’re able to use some of that money toward the operational costs of running the event and the rest to make a significant contribution to LPGA-USGA Girls Golf.”
Hall of Famer Louise Suggs, an LPGA founder, was quoted in the LPGA release strongly supporting the event. She’s scheduled to join fellow founders Marilynn Smith and Shirley Spork in special activities at the Founders Cup.
“Players have heard me say many times, you only have one goal if you’re a part of the LPGA, that’s to leave the game better than you found it,” Whan said when first announcing the Founders Cup. “With this new tournament, it’s not only a chance to celebrate the women who put this tour on the map, it also gives us a huge chance to pay it forward.”
Nancy Lopez, Betsy King, Pat Bradley and Patty Sheehan are scheduled to play in the Founders Cup pro-am and an 18-hole exhibition match on Friday morning.
“I truly feel like sometimes athletes in general can sometimes forget where we all come from,' Kim said in the LPGA release. “A decade ago, I wasn't playing for money, just a trophy and love of the game. The founders of the LPGA didn't have the endorsement opportunities that we have today. I am so proud of Mike Whan's vision, for remembering it's not just about the future of the game, but also about remembering and honoring the past.”
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Cabreras take 1-shot lead in Father/Son
ORLANDO, Fla. - Two-time major champion Angel Cabrera and Angel Cabrera Jr. birdied their last three holes for a 13-under 59 to take a one-shot lead Saturday in the PNC Father-Son Challenge.
Cabrera, a Masters and U.S. Open champion, is making his debut in this popular 36-hole scramble. His son said he practiced hard for 10 days. What helped put him at ease was watching his father make so many putts.
''We combined very well,'' Cabrera said. ''When I hit a bad shot, he hit a good one. That's the key.''
They had a one-shot lead over Mark O'Meara and Shaun O'Meara, who are playing for the first time. That included a birdie on the last hole, which O'Meara attributed to the strength of his son.
''My little man hit it 58 yards by me on the 18th,'' said O'Meara, the Masters and British Open champion in 1998. ''It's a little easier coming in with a 6-iron.''
Defending champions David Duval and Nick Karavites rallied over the back nine at the Ritz-Carlton Golf Club for a 61. They are trying to become the first father-son team to repeat as winners since Bernhard and Stefan Langer in 2006. Larry Nelson won two years in a row in 2007 and 2008, but with different sons.
''I'd imagine we have to break 60 tomorrow to have a chance to win, but hey, stranger things have happened,'' Duval said. ''I've even done it myself.''
Duval shot 59 at the Bob Hope Classic to win in 1999 on his way to reaching No. 1 in the world that year.
Duval and his stepson were tied with Bernhard Langer and 17-year-old Jason Langer, who made two eagles on the last five holes. This Langer tandem won in 2014.
Jack Nicklaus, playing with grandson G.T., opened with a 68.
Woods' 2018 schedule coming into focus ... or is it?
Two weeks after his successful return to competition at the Hero World Challenge, Tiger Woods’ 2018 schedule may be coming into focus.
Golfweek reported on Saturday that Woods hopes to play the Genesis Open in February according to an unidentified source with “direct knowledge of the situation.”
Woods’ agent Mark Steinberg declined to confirm the 14-time major champion would play the event and told GolfChannel.com that Woods – who underwent fusion surgery to his lower back in April – is still formulating his ’18 schedule.
Woods’ foundation is the host organization for the Genesis Open and the event supports the Tiger Woods Learning Center in Anaheim, Calif.
The Genesis Open would be Woods’ first start on the PGA Tour since he missed the cut last January at the Farmers Insurance Open.
Rose weathering delayed Indonesian Masters
JAKARTA, Indonesia - Justin Rose held a three-stroke lead after eight holes of the third round Saturday when play was suspended for the day due to bad weather at the Indonesian Masters.
Rose was 3-under on the day and led his playing partners Kiradech Aphibarnrat and Scott Vincent. The Englishman led both players by a stroke after the second round was completed Saturday morning due to weather delays on Friday.
Brandt Snedeker withdrew with apparent heat exhaustion on Friday on the 11th hole of the second round. Ranked 51st in the world, he flew to Jakarta looking to move inside the top 50 by the end of the year and ensure a spot in next year's Masters.
Lexi (wrist) WDs from Diamond Resorts Invitational
Lexi Thompson on Friday withdrew from the Diamond Resorts Invitational, citing inflammation in her wrist. Thompson, who teamed with Tony Finau to finish tied for fourth place in last week's QBE Shootout, said she is under strict doctor's order not to hit golf balls until mid-January.
The Diamond Resorts Invitational is scheduled Jan. 12-14 at Tranquilo Golf Club in Orlando, Fla. The field for te 54-hole event includes LPGA and PGA Tour Champions players, as well as celebrities from the worlds or sports and entertainment.