The Ladies Professional Golf Association (LPGA) has a rich and diverse history. Founded in 1950, today the LPGA is one of the longest-running women’s professional sports associations in the world.
Since its founding, the organization has grown from its roots as a playing tour into a non-profit organization involved in every facet of golf. The LPGA Tour and the LPGA Teaching & Club Professionals (T&CP) comprise the backbone of what has become the premier women’s professional sports organization in the world today. The LPGA maintains a strong focus on charity through not only its tournaments but also its grassroots junior and women’s programs and the formation of The LPGA Foundation.
With more than 2,300 members representing 30 different countries, the LPGA celebrates its diverse and storied membership. With a vision to inspire, empower, educate and entertain by showcasing the very best of women’s golf, LPGA tour professionals compete across the globe while dedicated LPGA teaching and club professionals directly impact the game through teaching, coaching and management.
The LPGA Hall of Fame membership includes a select group of honorees that since its inception in 1951 numbers only 25 inductees. One of the 25 includes honorary honoree Dinah Shore. A popular entertainer and avid golfer in her day, Shore lent both her name and money to the then-poorly funded organization. But the LPGA has grown significantly since then. In 1970 total prize money awarded was under $500,000 and in 2016 that amount reached over $63 million.
In 2011 the LPGA Founders Cup was created to honor the 13 groundbreaking woman who banded together to form the LPGA. “The Founders Cup was developed to remember and reinforce the philosophy of making the game better for the next generation of female golfers,” said LPGA Commissioner Mike Whan. In 2016 the tournament was renamed the LPGA Bank of Hope Founders Cup. It is the only LPGA tournament played in Arizona.
This year the tournament will take place March 14-19 at the Wildfire Golf Club located at the JW Marriott Desert Ridge Resort & Spa in Phoenix. The tour, which features a full field of LPGA players competing for a $1.5 million purse, will be broadcast in 151 nations across the globe. This is also the first year Korean-American Bank of Hope is the title sponsor. Notable golfers attending include 2016 winner Sei Young Kim, Cheyenne Woods and Stacy Lewis.
Last year Kim earned her fourth title on the LPGA Tour and finished 27-under par winning the 2016 Founders Cup Championship title. Kim’s 27-under par finish matched the LPGA’s lowest 72-hole scoring record set by Annika Sorenstam in 2001. Cydney Clanton hit the only hole-in-one at the tournament earning her a 2016 Kia K900.
WHEN: Tuesday, March 14th; Professional Practice Rounds, 8:00 a.m. – 4:00 p.m.
Wednesday, March 15th; Official Pro-AM, 7:00 a.m. – 5 p.m.
Thursday, March 16th – Sunday, March 19th; Tournament Play, 7:00 a.m. – 6:30 p.m.
WHERE: Wildfire Golf Club at JW Marriott Phoenix Desert Ridge Resort & Spa 5350 Marriott Drive Phoenix, Arizona 85054
Photos Courtesy of LPGA
Pictured Sei Young Kim 2016 Winner