'Having an official senior tour for the LPGA is the perfect complement to the LPGA Tour and the SBC Futures Tour, the LPGA's official developmental tour,' Ty M. Votaw, commissioner of the LPGA, said. 'We now have a complete cycle for women professional golfers. The SBC Futures Tour provides them the opportunity to hone their skills to advance to the LPGA Tour, and the Women's Senior Golf Tour will provide additional opportunities for members of the LPGA Tour and the LPGA Teaching and Club Professional (T&CP) Division who are at least 44 years old to continue to play competitive golf at a very high level.'
'The LPGA and the WSGT have worked together to develop a structure that maximizes opportunities for qualified players yet minimizes the impact on the LPGA Tour and its sponsors. This is a win-win for everyone and gives women's golf fans additional ways to enjoy high quality women's professional golf,' said Votaw.
According to Jane Blalock, president of the Jane Blalock Company, which operates the WSGT, this tour has been the dream of many former and current LPGA players and has been five years in the making. The LPGA Tour also creates a viable stage to showcase the skills and talents of LPGA members who are 44 years old and older.
'The support we have received from the fans and sponsors over the past two years has been extraordinary,' Blalock said. 'The players, who have collectively amassed more than 500 LPGA victories, will have the opportunity to perpetuate their careers while providing excitement and entertainment to the many fans and sponsors of women's golf around the globe. We applaud the LPGA on their foresight in recognizing the impact these LPGA legends will have on the growth of the game.' WSGT events may be scheduled during off weeks of the LPGA Tour, as well as the same time as limited field events, including the Evian Masters and the Weetabix Women's British Open. If an LPGA tournament agrees, WSGT events could also be scheduled during that tournament's competition week.
Participation in 2002 WSGT events is open to players who have or have had an LPGA Tour card and who will be 44 years of age or older on December 31, 2002. For 2003 and beyond, the age moves to 45 years of age or older as of December 31, 2003.
The WSGT expects to host four events in 2002. The tour held two events in 2001 and one in 2000. Purses are expected to range from $350,000 to $500,000.
'I believe this alliance will benefit everyone, especially our fans, and many of our members will have a viable avenue to continue their careers in a very competitive environment,' Votaw said.
Effective January 1, 2002, this is the first time the LPGA has had an official senior tour. The WSGT is a non-profit association of current and former women professional golfers, formed for the purpose of developing and administering golf tournaments for female professional golfers who are at least 44 years of age by December 31, 2002.
More Golf Headlines