LPGA releases 2012 schedule; 27 official events

By Randall MellJanuary 10, 2012, 11:30 pm

The ship doesn’t look like its foundering anymore.

With a favorable new wind in its favor, the LPGA’s sails are freshening with positive momentum going into the 2012 season.

The new schedule released Tuesday brought that kind of promise with it.

The LPGA will play 27 official money events this season, four more than last year. There are five events on the ’12 schedule that weren’t there last season, four of them in the United States or Canada, including the Kingsmill Championship. Tour pros will play for $47 million in total purse money this year, up from $40.4 million last year.

While the new schedule shows four more playing opportunities, there are actually five new cash-checking opportunities with the RR Donnelley Founders Cup featuring a $1.5 million purse this year that players get to keep. Last year, the entire Founders Cup purse was donated to charities as tour pros basically played for free.

The other good news for LPGA’s rank and file is that all of the events added this year qualify as full-field events.

The season will begin at the newly LPGA-sanctioned ISPS Handa Women’s Australian Open at Royal Melbourne Feb. 9-12 and end at the CME Group Titleholders in Naples, Fla., Nov. 15-18.

The new schedule reflects some hard work in tough economic times for two-year LPGA commissioner Mike Whan. With a recession combining with business relationships gone sour under the previous commissioner’s regime, the LPGA faced a hard setback after a healthy run in 2008. The tour featured 34 events, 23 domestic, with a record $60 million purse, in ‘08. By last year, the schedule had slowed to a wheeze, with just 23 events, 13 of them domestic.

“We’re going in the right direction, and the best news is that I don’t think we are done yet,” Whan told GolfChannel.com. “It is fun announcing this schedule, but it’s more exciting to me knowing there is more just around the corner.”

Whan said it’s possible a 28th event could still be added to this year’s schedule.

“There is at least one more new event people will be talking about very soon,” he said.

That doesn’t include the ambitious new Olympic style event Whan is working on, an idea he wanted to implement this year but isn’t quite ready. He said it’s still very much in the works for future schedules.

“It’s good we’re getting opportunities to play four more events, and with the purse now at the Founders Cup, it does feel like it’s five more events,” said Stacy Lewis, winner of last year’s Kraft Nabisco. “It’s good, because when last year ended, players were frustrated there weren’t more events to play.”

Whan said when the LPGA released its 2011 schedule a year ago, it included events the tour was still working to complete. Though the Tres Marias Championship in Mexico and the Imperial Springs event in China were on the 2011 schedule, they were never played and their status remains in doubt. Whan said this year’s schedule is fundamentally solid and does not include a significant number of events still in the works for future schedules.

“Our incubator feels pretty full,” Whan said. “That’s what I think is most exciting about 2012, the momentum we are creating.”

The tour’s return to Kingsmill is big news for veterans who knew the former stop in Williamsburg, Va., as among the tour’s most popular before the Michelob Ultra Open folded three years ago. The season-opening ISPS Handa Women’s Australian Open, the Manulife Financial LPGA Classic in Canada and the LPGA Lotte Championship Presented by J Golf in Hawaii are also new to the ’12 schedule. The Jamie Farr Owens Corning Classic is returning after a year’s hiatus.

“Going back to Kingsmill, to Jamie Farr, getting those LPGA staples back on the schedule, that’s what we need to do,” Lewis said. “I think we’re moving in the right direction.”

The only event played in 2011 that won’t return is the State Farm Classic.

“It feels like momentum is going in the right direction,” Hall of Famer Juli Inkster said. “I see things going forward now instead of backwards. And it’s great that we’re adding American events. I know we are a global tour, but I think it’s important with a U.S. fan base that we add domestic tournaments.”

Whan is still working on filling gaps in the schedule. On that note, the tour won’t have any three week gaps in this year’s schedule, as it did last year. Still, there are four two-week gaps, the longest breaks between events this season.

“It’s something we still need to address,” he said.

Whan’s fingerprints are all over the schedule. The CME Group Titleholders, his creation as a celebration of the tour’s sponsorship partners in a season-ending event, moves to a new home at TwinEagles Golf Club in Naples this year. The RR Donnelley Founders Cup will continue to honor the tour’s pioneers and contribute substantially to charities. The Evian Masters will become the LPGA’s fifth major in 2013. Whan’s Olympic-style event remains a work in progress.

“When we get all this right, and we start to click, you’ll see us continue to bring in people who left us in the past and new people you didn’t think even knew about us,” Whan said.


Complete LPGA schedule:

Feb. 9-12, ISPS Handa Women's Australian Open, Royal Melbourne (Australia) GC

Feb. 16-19, Honday LPGA Thailand, Siam CC, Thailand

Feb. 23-26, HSBC Women's Champions, Tanah Merah CC, Singapore

March 15-18, RR Donnelley LPGA Founders Cup, Wildfire GC, Phoenix

March 22-25, Kia Classic, LaCosta R&S, Carlsbad, Calif.

March 29-April 1, Kraft Nabisco Championship, Mission Hills CC, Rancho Mirage, Calif.

April 18-21, LPGA Lotte Championship, TBD, Oahu, Hawaii

April 26-29, Mobile Bay LPGA Classic, RTJ GT, Mobile, Ala.

May 5-6, HSBC Brasil Cup, TBD, Brazil (unofficial)

May 17-20, Sybase Match Play, Hamilton Farm GC, Gladstone, NJ

June 1-3, ShopRite LPGA Classic, Seaview GC, Galloway, NJ

June 7-10, Wegmans LPGA Championship, Locust Hill CC, Pittsford, NY

June 21-24, Manulife Financial LPGA Classic, Grey Silo GC, Ontario, Canada

June 29-July 1, Walmart MW Arkansas Champ., Pinnacle CC, Rogers, Ark.

July 5-8, U.S. Women's Open, Blackwolf Run, Kohler, Wisc.

July 26-29, Evian Masters, Evian (France) GC

Aug. 9-12, Jamie Farr Toledo Classic, Highland Meadows GC, Sylvania, Ohio

Aug. 17-19, Safeway Classic, Pumpkin Ridge GC, North Plains, Ore.

Aug. 23-26, CN Canadian Women's Open, Vancouver GC, British Columbia, Canada

Sept. 6-9, Kingsmill Championship, Kingsmill Resort, Williamsburg, Va.

Sept. 13-16, Ricoh Women's British Open, Royal Liverpool GC, Hoylake, England

Sept. 20-23, Navistar LPGA Classic, RTJ GT, Prattville, Ala.

Oct. 12-14, Sime Darby LPGA Malaysia, Kuala Lumpur (Malaysia) G&CC

Oct. 19-21, LPGA HanaBank Championship, Sky72 GC, Korea

Oct. 25-28, Sunrise LPGA Taiwan Championship, Sunrise G&CC, Taiwan

Nov. 2-4, Mizuno Classic, Kintetsu Kashikojima CC, Japan

Nov. 8-11, Lorena Ochoa Invitational, Guadalajara (Mexico) CC

Nov. 15-18, CME Group Titleholders, TwinEagles GC, Naples, Fla.

Dec. 9, Wendy's 3-Tour Challenge, Rio Secco GC, Henderson, Nev. (unofficial)

Cabreras take 1-shot lead in Father/Son

By Associated PressDecember 16, 2017, 11:23 pm

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.

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Woods' 2018 schedule coming into focus ... or is it?

By Golf Channel DigitalDecember 16, 2017, 5:46 pm

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

By Associated PressDecember 16, 2017, 3:52 pm

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.

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Lexi (wrist) WDs from Diamond Resorts Invitational

By Golf Channel DigitalDecember 15, 2017, 11:27 pm

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.