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.”
Follow Randall Mell on Twitter @RandallMell
Rose leads halted Indonesian Masters; Snedeker WDs
JAKARTA, Indonesia - Justin Rose held a three-stroke lead at the Indonesian Masters when bad weather stopped play Friday during the second round.
The Englishman, who shot a 10-under 62 on Thursday, had completed 13 holes and was 5 under on the day at the Royale Jakarta Golf Club course.
Kiradech Aphibarnrat (64) was in second place.
Brandt Snedeker withdrew wit on the 11th hole at 2 under for the day after shooting an opening 72.
There was no reason given for his withdrawal, but the American has been affected by a rib-sternum injury for most of the season. 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.
Newsmaker of the Year: No. 2, Donald Trump
Even away from the White House, President Donald Trump generated plenty of headlines this year.
Trump’s first year in office didn’t dim his enthusiasm for the game, as he made splashy appearances at two big events, tweeted about golf to his more than 44 million followers, teed it up with some of the sport’s biggest stars, including Tiger Woods, Rory McIlroy and Lexi Thompson, and fired a few eyebrow-raising scores. Logging more than 75 rounds since his inauguration, the 3-handicap has only bolstered his reputation as the best golfing president, particularly after his alleged 73 with Sen. Lindsey Graham.
None of his appearances created a bigger stir than when he attended the U.S. Women’s Open. Despite protests and calls for the USGA to move its premier women’s event from Trump Bedminster – the president reportedly threatened to sue – his weekend there went off without incident, as Trump watched the action and hosted players in his private box near the 15th green.
Despite his controversial rhetoric on a variety of national issues, Trump has remained a staunch supporter of women’s golf, and he became the first sitting president to attend the U.S. Women’s Open.
An honorary chairman of the Presidents Cup, Trump also flew to Liberty National for the biennial team event, where he presented the trophy to the U.S. team and dedicated the victory to the hurricane victims in Texas, Florida and Puerto Rico.
In late November, amid tweets about the national anthem, Turkey, Egypt and Time Magazine, Trump announced that he was playing a round in South Florida with Woods and world No. 1 Dustin Johnson.
Yes, that too became a headline, just like everything else Trump did in 2017.
Playing with the pros
Tiger, DJ and Faxon
President at the Presidents Cup
Purported round of 73 with Lindsey Graham
Cart on the green
Presence and protests at U.S. Women's Open
Trump golf properties
Reportedly fake TIME covers
Trump apologizes for voter-fraud story
Pros comment on the president
Newsmakers of the Year: Top 10 in 2017
GolfChannel.com is counting down the top 10 Newsmakers of the Year as voted on by Golf Channel’s writers, editors, reporters and producers. Check out the list below, including future release dates. And click here for the full collection of articles.
No. 1: Dec. 18
Spieth, Thomas headline winter break trip to Cabo
Justin Thomas and Jordan Spieth. Really good at golf. Really good at vacationing.
With #SB2K18 still months away, Thomas and Spieth headlined a vacation to Cabo San Lucas, and this will shock you but it looks like they had a great time.
Spring break veteran Smylie Kaufman joined the party, as did Thomas' roommate, Tom Lovelady, who continued his shirtless trend.
The gang played all the hits, including shoeless golf in baketball jerseys and late nights with Casamigos tequila.
In conclusion, it's still good to be these guys.