LPGA reveals 2012 schedule

2012-01-11 10:20

Daytona Beach - A 27-event 2012 season with $47 million in prize money was announced on Tuesday by the LPGA Tour, with four new North American tournaments and the sanctioning of another in Australia.

Twelve of the tournaments will be staged outside the United States, including Asian trips early and late in the campaign, as the tour renewed 10 of 11 tournament contracts that expired in 2011.

Total prize money will jump $6.6 million from last year.

At a time when economic struggles have caused many sponsors and events to vanish, LPGA commissioner Mike Whan was able to add tournaments, including the return of popular events in Toledo, Ohio, and Williamsburg, Virginia.

"The commitment and support of our existing tournament sponsors, dramatic improvement in our television production and viewership and significant growth in marketing partners is really the foundation for our schedule growth," Whan said.

The LPGA season begins February 9-12 at the Women's Australian Open at Royal Melbourne, an event that has LPGA sanctioning starting this year. Events follow the next two weeks in Thailand and Singapore.

The first US event will be the LPGA Founders Cup on March 15-18 at Phoenix, Arizona, followed the next week by an event in Carlsbad, California, and then the first of five majors, the Kraft Nabisco Championship at Rancho Mirage on March 29-April 1.

A new LPGA event in Hawaii will come three weeks later followed by an event in Mobile, Alabama; an unofficial event in Brazil, two tournaments in New Jersey and the second major, the LPGA Championship, near Rochester, New York.

A new event comes later in June at Waterloo, Canada, followed by a stop in Arkansas ahead of the third major, the US Women's Open on July 5-8 at Kohler, Wisconsin, and the fourth and newest major, the Evian Masters in France on July 26-29.

The Toledo Classic, Safeway Classic and Canadian Women's Open follow in August before the Kingsmill Championship in Williamsburg is staged a week before the last major, the Women's British Open on September 13-16 at Royal Liverpool, with an event in Alabama the following week.

The British event was moved back from its usual July date in part due to the 2012 London Olympics.

An Asian swing follows with events in Malaysia, South Korea, Taiwan and Japan in October and early November before the Lorena Ochoa Invitational in Mexico and the season-ending Titleholders event November 15-18 in Naples, Florida.