I can think of no better venue to finish off the season than here, LPGA Tour Commissioner Ty Votaw said Wednesday. 'This event represents the essence of what the LPGA stands for -- the very best of women's professional golf: the top-30 players on the LGPA Tour; one of the finest golf courses in the world in Trump International; and a very gracious and committed host in Donald Trump.'
'We are so thrilled to return here in 2002.' Votaw said just prior to announcing that this event will be played here next year as well - the week before Thanksgiving.
This is the second time the LPGAs year-end championship is being played at Trump International and this year those returning will see a much friendlier course. Im going to make it easier on the ladies, Trump said. I just had to prove my point the first year.
Trump proved his point in spades in 2001. On the final day, only two players ' defending champion Karrie Webb and Annika Sorenstam - managed to record sub-70 scores on his new $40 million par-72 course.
It was such a shock to everyone that you actually had to work hard at the last tournament of the year, Webb said. I dont think there were any bad intentions, Webb, a member of the course said, I just think Donald didnt want to see 15-under or 20-under winning the golf tournament.
This year the course is much more forgiving. According to Trump, the banks around the 18th will not be shaved like they were last year.
No one will be happier about this than Annika Sorenstam.
Trumps mid-tournament changes to the course left Sorenstam in the drink, making triple-bogey during the third round. Sorenstam, shooting 65 in the final round last year, ended up finishing second and a mere two strokes behind Webb.
Sorenstam, going for her 11th win of the season this week, was undaunted by last years level of course difficulty. 'This is a good test, I think. You have got to hit the ball really well, especially iron shots - kind of target golf, so -- we'll see what kind of conditions we'll get,' Sorenstam said. 'Today was quite windy which makes the course a lot tougher.'
Players will also notice a change on the 17th. No. 17, a 166-yard, par-3, is considered the signature hole and one of the toughest - especially if the wind is blowing.
Last year the hole was marked as a hazard meaning players in the water had to drop near the tee. This year the hole is not nearly as penalizing to an errant shot. LPGA Rules official Jane Reynolds marked the 17th in red as a lateral hazard this week, which will enable some players to drop near the green.
So far they have been pleasantly surprised by the course conditions. The course set-up is pretty much the same as last year, Webb said after Tuesdays practice round.
While the elite field enjoys their stay at the opulent Mar-a-Lago, courtesy of Mr. Trump, they are ready to get serious and play the final event of the year. Im definitely excited to get going tomorrow, Sorenstam said.