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LPGA Founders Cup hikes charity ante

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The charity ante for the RR Donnelley LPGA Founders Cup has been dramatically upgraded, the tour announced today.

The total donation will be boosted to $1 million, double the tour’s original pledge with $500,000 going to LPGA-USGA Girls Golf and $500,000 to the designated charities of the top-10 finishers of the tournament scheduled March 18-20 at JW Marriott’s Wildfire Golf Club in Phoenix.

Also, the tour announced its special 'mock purse' for this event has been changed to $1 million to match the charity donation. The mock purse was originally set at $1.3 million, almost three times the original charity pledge. That’s notable because LPGA star Paula Creamer expressed objections to the fact that the purse and donations didn’t match. Cristie Kerr and Morgan Pressel also voiced concerns with tournament plans.

Though tour pros will play for imaginary money with the Founders Cup purse donated to charity, they’ll be credited with official money winnings, world ranking points, Rolex Player of the Year and other LPGA award points.

“I certainly could have done a better job of initially articulating the details to players and media, as that has led to some confusion about the tournament’s goals and objectives,” LPGA commissioner Mike Whan said. 'We now look forward to a very unique tournament that will honor the LPGA’s founders, showcase and celebrate today’s LPGA players, and provide for the future of the game.”

The Founders Cup winner will have $200,000 donated to the charity of her choice. Another $300,000 will be dispersed to the charity choices of the other top-10 finishers.

Creamer, Kerr and Pressel couldn’t immediately be reached for their reactions. They have until March 8 to commit to play in the event.