After an absence of four entire months, the LPGA returns to American soil this week.
In fact this is the first of three consecutive weeks that our girls will be out west. The 3rd and final week will bring us this year’s first major championship.
March 18 – 20 RR Donnelly LPGA Founders Cup
Wildfire Golf Club, Phoenix, AZ
Purse: $1,000,000 – Donated Entirely to Charity
Field: 134 Players
Sponsor Exemptions: Shasta Averyhardt and Jennifer Johnson
Monday Qualifiers: Harukyo Nomura and Amelia Lewis
The field includes 22 of the top 50 Players in the World (which gives this a 44% strength of schedule in my player of the year system).
Notables who are missing this week because they were planning on playing in Japan include Inbee Park, Hee Young Park, Teresa Lu, Meena Lee, Shiho Oyama and Soo-Yun Kang. Michelle Wie stated she is not attending because this is exam week. In-Kyung Kim can certainly be excused for missing this week as she gave her entire winners check ($220,000) to charity last November. Na Yeon Choi, who will not be playing, gives a percentage of her winnings to charity on a regular basis.
Other notables who chose not to participate in this most charitable event are Suzanne Petterson, Ai Miyazato, Mika Miyazato, Momoko Ueda, Maria Hjorth, Anna Nordqvist, Catriona Mathhew, Janice Moody and Se Ri Pak.
For more details (including TV times) see reports posted by Hound Dog and The Constructivist.
March 24 – 27 Kia Classic
Industry Hills Golf Club at Pacific Palms
City of Industry, CA
Field: 140 players (Including 2 qualifiers yet to be determined)
Defending Champion: Hee Kyung Seo
Sponsor Exemptions: Shasta Averyhardt, Blair O'Neal and Julie Yang (a)
As of this writing the field includes 33 of the top 50 players in the worrld. The missing 17 are non-LPGA members. This will get a very strong 66% strength of schedule in my player of the year system.
TV Times: (EST) – all Golf Channel (Live)
March 24 - 6:30 to 8:30 PM
March 25 - 6:30 to 8:30 PM
March 26 - 6:30 to 9:00 PM
March 27 - 7:00 to 9:00 PM
March 31 – April 3 Kraft Nabisco Championship
Mission Hills Country Club
Rancho Mirage, CA
This is the year's first Major Championship!
Purse: $ 2,000,000 - Par 72 - 6702 Yards
Defending Champion: Yani Tseng 69-71-67-68 = 275 (-13)
TV Times: (EST) All Golf Channel (Live)
March 31 and April 1 - 12:00PM to 3:00PM and 6:30 PM to 9:30PM
April 2nd and 3rd – 4:30PM to 8:30 PM
It is certainly nice to see the well deserved extended TV coverage this is finally getting.
If you are living on the west coast this is a great opportunity to go out and see these wonderful girls play. If you have never done it, give it a shot. If you go once you will want to go again. These girls are all so fan friendly and deserve our support.
If you are not on the west coast be sure to turn on your television sets. Ratings are very instrumental in keeping this tour alive.
My hard to believe stat of the week:
Nearly 10% of the Kia Classic field (13 of 140) have either the last name of Kim (7) or Lee (6).