Monday, December 29, 2008

The LPGA Gets a Foothold in South America

With the Women's World Cup of Golf becoming an end-of-season event in 2009, there was an opening at the top of the 2009 LPGA schedule. Until now. The LPGA just announced the start of a new event, the HSBC LPGA Brasil Cup, to be played in Rio on January 24th and 25th. Angela Park and Candy Hannemann will be joined by 12 other LPGA players and 1 other Brazilian for this 36-hole exhibition. Their winnings won't be counted on the '09 money list, but between the $500K purse and the fact that it's being played in Rio in January, I wouldn't be surprised to see more than half of the top 10 from the '08 money list there in a few weeks. Nor would I be at all surprised if the event became an official one within a few years, what with "the support of the State Government of Rio de Janeiro and the Brazilian Ministry of Sports" behind it (and perhaps also behind Brasil 1, HSBC's co-sponsor). Heck, HSBC will probably use this as a vehicle to revive their Women's World Match Play Championship down the road. What better reward for being among the top 64 women golfers in the world (or one of the few Brazilian professional golfers) than Rio in January? If this sounds too far-fetched, perhaps it'll become the Angela Park Invitational....

[Update 1 (1/14/09, 3:31 am): Regular commenter here Jamie R.S. surveys the field list at his new blog, Crosscourt Birdies.]

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