Sponsor says he has deal for 2015 LPGA opener in Florida


If all the final details fall into place, the Coates Golf Championship presented by R&L Carriers will make its debut as the LPGA’s season opener and newest domestic event next year.

The Coates Golf Championship would be played as a 72-hole stroke-play event Jan. 28-31 at Golden Ocala Golf and Equestrian Club in Ocala, Fla., according to Randall Coates, the chief operating officer of Coates Golf. While the LPGA isn’t ready to confirm a deal’s in place yet, Coates told GolfChannel.com he has signed contracts to bring an LPGA event with a $1.5 million purse to Ocala during Super Bowl week. The event would be played Wednesday through Saturday to accommodate fans wanting to spend Sunday watching the Super Bowl.

“It’s official,” Coates told GolfChannel.com.

Coates Golf is a new company in the golf club manufacturing industry set to launch in the fall. R&L Carriers is a freight shipping company that owns Golden Ocala.

“It’s exciting,” Coates said. “We’re a new company set to make a major reveal in the fall and bring some pizazz to the golf industry and the LPGA.”

The tournament would be played with a 108-player field and 36-hole cut. If all the details come together, the tournament would join the Pure Silk Bahamas Classic in giving the tour a two-event North American start. The Pure Silk Bahamas is scheduled Feb. 5-8, the week after the Super Bowl. The tour moves to Asia for its early year swing after that.