2016 LPGA schedule has more events, more money

By Randall MellNovember 20, 2015, 8:54 pm

NAPLES, Fla. – The LPGA continues to build on a stable foundation of events under commissioner Mike Whan.

On Friday at the CME Group Tour Championship, the tour announced its 2016 schedule, which will feature 34 events, including the UL International Crown, and record prize money totaling more than $63 million. That’s two more events than the LPGA played this year with $4 million more in total prize money.

Notably, the LPGA isn’t losing a single tournament that was played this year.

“I made this comment a couple years ago that wouldn’t it be nice if somewhere in the future our schedule announcement didn’t have so much drama,” Whan said. “When the PGA Tour announces its schedule, sometimes it’s just an email. It’s because people know the schedule is going to be strong and stable without a whole lot of change. I feel like we’re coming over a hill.

“For the last few years, you’ve been walking in here, and so have I, and we’re talking about a schedule that is so much different. I’m really excited to say there is not a lot that’s different. Generally speaking, our schedule is what our schedule was.”

The former Reignwood Classic in China, canceled this year, is the only 2016 event listed as “TBD,” but Whan seemed confident the event will be played in the fall Asian swing. The new LPGA Volvik Championship (May 26-29) in Ann Arbor, Mich., is the only other event added to this year’s schedule.

LPGA heading to Green Bay for new event in 2017

The LPGA schedule is nearly maxed out as Whan envisions it. Almost from the day he became commissioner, Whan has said he believes 34 events are optimum. Whan believes 34 events assure strong fields at every stop, sufficient breaks and a good offseason.

“Our team’s focus has exclusively shifted from securing new events to enhancing the ones we have,” Whan said. “Increasing purses, number of weeks on network TV and creating more exposure for our events and players are the short-term goals we have set.”

While Whan’s schedule typically includes breaks opposite men’s majors, the Meijer Classic in Belmont, Mich., will move opposite the U.S. Open (June 16-19). Whan said Meijer requested the dates for its strong community-oriented event.

Because golf is returning to the Olympics next year, the LPGA schedule has been juggled to accommodate it. The LPGA will be taking a three-week break in August with the Olympic women’s event scheduled the week of Aug. 15-21. To make that work, the LPGA will be playing 11 consecutive weeks leading up to the Olympics. The Yokohama Classic is moving from August to May and the Cambia Portland Classic is moving from August to the start of July.

Whan said he’s expecting to announce a new venue for next year’s UL International Crown in about a week. Rich Harvest Farms outside Chicago was originally scheduled to host but the LPGA recently announced it was looking for a new venue.

Whan’s mandate when he took over as commissioner six years ago was to rebuild the tour’s schedule, which had withered down to 23 events in 2011 with title sponsors abandoning in bunches.

The 2016 schedule Whan unveiled Friday features 10 more official events than the tour played in 2011 with eight more North American events and $22 million more in prize money. That’s also nine more full-field events than the tour played in 2011.

Here is the complete 2016 schedule:


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Watch: Reed races in 40-footer to put away Spieth

By Golf Channel DigitalMarch 23, 2018, 10:19 pm

Three up with three holes to play at the WGC-Dell Technologies Match Play, Patrick Reed missed an opportunity to close out his match with Jordan Spieth when Spieth won the 16th hole with a birdie.

But Reed wouldn't let the match move to 18. Putting for birdie from the apron, 40 feet from the hole, at the par-3 17th, Reed raced in this putt to end the match.

With the win, Reed moved to 3-0-0 for the week and advanced to the weekend at Austin Country Club.

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Garcia's win-win situation: Move on or baby time

By Rex HoggardMarch 23, 2018, 9:45 pm

AUSTIN, Texas – Given his status as one of Europe’s preeminent Ryder Cup players, Sergio Garcia’s record at the WGC-Dell Technologies Match Play is nothing short of inexplicable.

In 15 starts at the event, the Spaniard has played the weekend just once – in 2010 when he lost in the semifinals to Ian Poulter – and since the event pivoted to round-robin play he’s never made it out of the group stages.

His fortunes have changed dramatically this year, with Garcia going undefeated in pool play and cruising to the Sweet 16 following a 3-and-1 victory over Xander Schauffele on Friday.

“I would love to have done a little better than I have,” said Garcia, who will play Kyle Stanley in the Round of 16 early Saturday. “I have had some good weeks here. But not probably as good as I should have. So hopefully this week it will be better.”

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Garcia made no secret of the source of his turnaround following the birth of his first child last Wednesday, a girl named Azalea. Even on Friday when he found himself 2 down through 11 holes and in danger of not advancing he kept an upbeat attitude.

“The way I looked at it, when I was 2 down, we're going to try to turn it around, but if we don't, it means that I get to spend more time with [his wife] Angela and Azalea for the weekend,” Garcia said. “I tried to look at it in a good way.”

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DeLaet: WGC's robin-robin format 'sucks'

By Grill Room TeamMarch 23, 2018, 9:20 pm

Graham DeLaet isn't teeing it up at Austin Country Club this week because he didn't qualify for the WGC-Dell Technologies Match Play, but that doesn't mean he lacks an opinion on the event's format.

DeLaet hopped on social media Friday during Day 3 of the WGC-Match Play to torch the round-robin format that's been in place for three years, saying he much preferred the single elimination that was in place when he played in 2014.

"Played Match Play in Tucson in 2014. Early group on Wednesday, lost. Threw clubs in my car and was on my couch in Scottsdale by 2:00 pm. Collect 30K and spend the weekend at home, he tweeted. "That’s a good format. This one sucks."

DeLeat's comments may be the strongest to date, but he's not alone in his opposition to pool play. Several players lamented Friday's "meaningless" matches earlier this week, and Henrik Stenson cited the lack of a do-or-die atmosphere as his reason for skipping the event.

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Watch: Kuchar makes ace at WGC-Dell Match Play

By Golf Channel DigitalMarch 23, 2018, 9:09 pm

In his bid to advance to the weekend at the WGC-Dell Technologies Match Play, Matt Kuchar aced the par-3 seventh hole Friday at Austin Country Club.

With an 8-iron from 181 yards, Kuchar landed his ball short of the flag and watched it roll and roll ... and drop.

The hole-in-one moved Kuchar 3 Up in match against Ross Fisher. 

The last hole-in-one at the Match Play came in Sunday's consolation match last year, when Hideto Tanihara aced the same hole before later losing to Bill Haas.