LPGA offers charitable donations to top five Founders Cup finishers
The tour announced today that it will donate $200,000 to the charities of choice for the top-five finishers at the inaugural event to be held March 18-20 in Phoenix.
According to tour officials, before teeing it up each player will be asked to designate a charity she’ll be playing for at Wildfire Golf Club at the JW Marriott Phoenix Desert Ridge Resort. The tournament will donate $100,000 to the charity of choice of the winner, $50,000 to the runner-up’s choice, $25,000 to the third-place finisher’s choice, $15,000 to fourth-place’s choice and $10,000 to fifth-place’s.
The tournament aims to honor the LPGA’s pioneering founders and will feature a $1.3 million “mock purse” with tour pros getting credit for official earnings on the money list without actually pocketing money. The $1.3 million purse is all imaginary money, uniquely devised by the tour to put the focus on donating back. Tour officials told GolfChannel.com last week that they were aiming to raise $500,000 for the LPGA Foundation to support the LPGA-USGA Girls’ Golf Program. The $200,000 donation to player charities is in addition to that LPGA Foundation goal.
Today’s announcements follow news earlier this week that Suzann Pettersen won’t play because of concerns about how the event’s being structured, that Paula Creamer and Cristie Kerr are uncertain they’ll play because of similar frustrations with tournament planning, and that Morgan Pressel shares the same reservations. Each of the players expressed support of the event’s cause and charitable ambition but concern over how quickly the Founders Cup final plans were pushed through.
In Friday’s LPGA news release, the tour announced that Rolex Player of the Year Yani Tseng, Natalie Gulbis, Christina Kim, Brittany Lincicome, Angela Stanford and Kristy McPherson are among early commitments to the 132-player field.
LPGA commissioner Mike Whan said Friday that RR Donnelley is putting up the same amount that other tournament title sponsors put into an LPGA event. Typically, according to tour officials, title sponsors put up as much as $2 million to fund a tour event.
“The great thing here is that RR Donnelley is paying full title sponsor money, including television costs, just like any other title sponsor would,” Whan said. “In this case, we’re able to use some of that money toward the operational costs of running the event and the rest to make a significant contribution to LPGA-USGA Girls Golf.”
Hall of Famer Louise Suggs, an LPGA founder, was quoted in the LPGA release strongly supporting the event. She’s scheduled to join fellow founders Marilynn Smith and Shirley Spork in special activities at the Founders Cup.
“Players have heard me say many times, you only have one goal if you’re a part of the LPGA, that’s to leave the game better than you found it,” Whan said when first announcing the Founders Cup. “With this new tournament, it’s not only a chance to celebrate the women who put this tour on the map, it also gives us a huge chance to pay it forward.”
Nancy Lopez, Betsy King, Pat Bradley and Patty Sheehan are scheduled to play in the Founders Cup pro-am and an 18-hole exhibition match on Friday morning.
“I truly feel like sometimes athletes in general can sometimes forget where we all come from,' Kim said in the LPGA release. “A decade ago, I wasn't playing for money, just a trophy and love of the game. The founders of the LPGA didn't have the endorsement opportunities that we have today. I am so proud of Mike Whan's vision, for remembering it's not just about the future of the game, but also about remembering and honoring the past.”
Follow Randall Mell on Twitter @RandallMell
2018 NCAA Golf Championships TV Schedule
Golf Channel will shine a spotlight on college golf across the next two weeks at the 2018 NCAA Division I Women’s and Men’s Golf National Championships. With more than 60 hours of live tournament and news coverage on-site from Karsten Creek Golf Club in Stillwater Oklahoma (Monday-Wednesday May 21-23 and May 28-30), Golf Channel’s coverage connects 18 straight days of live tournament golf.
Watch live coverage of the NCAA Golf Championships beginning Monday, May 21 at 4pm ET on Golf Channel and streaming.
Golf Channel NCAA Women’s Golf Championships Coverage (all times ET)
Monday, May 21: Individual National Championship 4-8 p.m. (Live)
Tuesday, May 22:Quarterfinals, Team Match Play 11 a.m.-1:30 p.m. (Live)
Tuesday, May 22: Semifinals, Team Match Play 4-8 p.m. (Live)
Wednesday, May 23:Team Match Play National Championship 4-8 p.m. (Live)
Golf Channel NCAA Men’s Golf Championships Coverage (all times ET)
Monday, May 28: Individual National Championship 4-8 p.m. (Live)
Tuesday, May 29: Quarterfinals, Team Match Play 11 a.m.-1:30 p.m. (Live)
Tuesday, May 29: Semifinals, Team Match Play 4-8 p.m. (Live)
Wednesday, May 30: Team Match Play National Championship 4-8 p.m. (Live)
AT&T Byron Nelson purse payout: Wise a millionaire
PGA Tour rookie Aaron Wise earned his first Tour title on Sunday at the AT&T Byron Nelson. Here's a look at how the purse was paid out at Trinity Forest:
|T9||Charles Howell III||-15||$207,900|
Howell, Uihlein qualify for U.S. Open via OWGR
Charles Howell III and Peter Uihlein both used strong play at the AT&T Byron Nelson to maintain their positions inside the top 60 in the latest Official World Golf Ranking, thereby ensuring exemptions to next month's U.S. Open.
Howell moved up three spots to No. 56 in the world thanks to a T-9 finish at Trinity Forest. He'll make his 10th career U.S. Open appearance, but just his second since 2009. Howell missed the cut at Olympic in 2012.
Uihlein finished T-21 in Dallas, which was barely enough to hold onto a top-60 spot as he actually fell two positions to No. 59. The former U.S. Amateur champ will make his third U.S. Open appearance and second in as many years.
The drama for the final spot came down to the wire on Sunday, where Adam Scott's bid to unseat Chesson Hadley at No. 60 came up just short. Needing a solo ninth-place finish, Scott ended up in a three-way tie for ninth to begin the new week at No. 61. Hadley, who didn't play the Nelson, remained No. 60 and will make his U.S. Open debut.
Others to punch tickets to Shinnecock Hills include No. 52 Luke List, No. 53 Chez Reavie and No. 57 Dylan Frittelli. A second and final top-60 cutoff will be done based off the June 11 world rankings following the FedEx St. Jude Classic, with U.S. Open sectional qualifying conducted in England and the U.S. on June 4.
The only change among the top 10 in the rankings this week came at No. 10, where Paul Casey moved past Tommy Fleetwood despite an off week for both players. Justin Thomas remains world No. 1 for a second week, followed by Dustin Johnson, Jordan Spieth, Jon Rahm and Justin Rose. Rickie Fowler remains No. 6, with Jason Day, Rory McIlroy, Hideki Matsuyama and Casey rounding out the top 10.
Taking the week off following a T-11 finish at The Players Championship, Tiger Woods fell two spots to No. 82.
After Further Review: Nelson lost in the shuffle?
Each week, GolfChannel.com takes a look back at the week in golf. Here's what's weighing on our writers' minds.
On the Nelson's future ...
If the goal was “different” by bringing the AT&T Byron Nelson to Trinity Forest, consider it achieved. But bringing a world-class field south of Dallas could still be tricky.
Yes, the tournament can always rely on local resident and AT&T spokesman Jordan Spieth to throw his hat in the ring. But even with Spieth strolling the fairways this week, the field strength was among the worst all season for a full-point event.
The debut of the sprawling, links-like layout likely did little to sway the undecideds, with only the third round offering the challenging conditions that course co-designer Ben Crenshaw had envisioned. And the schedule won’t do them any favors next year, as a revamped itinerary likely puts the Nelson right before the PGA Championship at Bethpage Black.
The course will inevitably get better with age, and Spieth expects positive word of mouth to spread. But it might be a while before the stars truly align for an event that, for the moment, feels lost in the shuffle of a hectic schedule. – Will Gray
On Jordan Spieth's putting ...
Jordan Spieth’s putting is plainly bad right now, but it isn’t going to stay this bad forever.
He is the second ranked player on Tour in strokes gained: tee-to-green, just like he was last year. This putting slump has lingered, but it’s unfathomable to think this guy just forgot how to putt.
Sooner rather than later he’s going to remember he’s Jordan Spieth and the 40-footers are going to start pouring in. He’ll be telling Greller to go get the ball because he’s too far away and the tee is in the other direction.
Bottom line, the ball striking is for real and the putting slump will pass. He’ll win soon – maybe even as soon as this week. – Nick Menta
On golf and gambling ...
On Monday, the U.S. Supreme Court over tuned a federal ban on sports betting in most states, a move the PGA Tour and many professional sports leagues embraced as a tool to both build fan interest and grow revenue.
Experts estimate sports betting could become a $150-$200 billion annual industry, and even a small piece of that could be significant for golf, but there will be risks.
Unlike any other sport, golf is played on multiple fields simultaneously, which inherently creates risks when gambling is introduced to the equation. Although the Tour has gone to great pains to head off any potential problems, like all bets gambling comes with great rewards, and great risks. – Rex Hoggard