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Futures Tour to Lower Minimum Age Requirement

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The Duramed Futures Tour, the developmental tour of the LPGA, is lowering the minimum age requirement to 17 for tour members turning professional. The tour previously required all professionals to be 18 years of age or older.
 
'The demand is here and the talent is here for us to lower our age requirement,' said Zayra F. Calderon, president and CEO of the Futures. 'We have, however, structured our policy to ensure these young players' educational goals are met while at the same time providing them the opportunity to be successful as a professional golfer.'
 
The new policy states any player who is 17 years of age must meet all of the following criteria:
 
  • Must have earned exempt status on the Duramed Futures Tour by qualifying at the most recent Tour Qualifying Tournament;
  • Must turn age 18 during the calendar year in which the player competes on the tour;
  • Must have earned a high school diploma or equivalent document;
  • Must travel with and be accompanied at each tournament by an adult guardian;
  • Must assume the professional and financial responsibilities required of a professional member of the tour.
     
    Calderon continued, 'The overwhelming trend across virtually every major sport is that the young, very talented players are anxious to turn professional. We want to ensure that these young phenoms have very successful long careers that will contribute to the growth of women's golf.
     
    'The Duramed Futures Tour is coming off of one of the greatest seasons in its 25-year history and with the increasing awareness of women's golf, we believe lowering the age policy and having these players experience professional golf at the developmental level will produce a better overall player for the LPGA.'
     
    Calderon was recently approached about the age policy by two exempt 2006 amateur members, Song-Hee Kim of Seoul, Korea, and In-Bee Park of Las Vegas, Nev. Both players, who will turn 18 during the 2006 Futures season, requested the tour grant them permission to play the entire season as professionals. Under this new policy, both players will be able to play on the tour as professionals.