MOBILE, Ala. -- The LPGA Tour will make two stops in Alabama next season, with the return of the Alabama LPGA Classic in Prattville after sitting out this year and the renewal of the Mobile Bay LPGA Classic, tour officials announced Tuesday. The Robert Trent Jones Golf Trail will serve as presenting sponsor of both events.
The Alabama LPGA Classic (formerly known as the Navistar LPGA Classic) will mark the tour's seventh visit to Prattville, a suburb of Montgomery, with past winners including Stacy Lewis (2012), Lexi Thompson (2011), Katherine Hull-Kirk (2010), Lorena Ochoa (2008, 2009) and Maria Hjorth (2007). The Mobile Bay Classic, which is being played this week, is in its fifth year on the schedule.
MOBILE BAY CLASSIC
''Not only will we get to see some of the world's best athletes compete, but the international exposure and economic impact are tremendous,'' said Dr. David G. Bronner, CEO of the Retirement Systems of Alabama. ''Having the Robert Trent Jones Golf Trail as the presenting partner for both events in 2014 will keep the eyes of the international golf community on America's original golf trail.''
The RTJ Golf Trail opened in 1992 and was established to bring increased tourism and expanded economic investments in the state of Alabama while adding to the quality of life for its residents. In 2012, the economic impact of both the LPGA events in Mobile and Prattville exceeded $30 million.
''We're thrilled to return to Prattville for the newly named Alabama LPGA Classic,'' said LPGA Tour Commissioner Mike Whan. ''Adding this event back on the schedule is the result of a great partnership between the LPGA, Retirement Systems of Alabama and the Robert Trent Jones Golf Trail. It's no secret that Alabama has some of the best golf in America. In 2014, the best female players in the world will 'play the Trail' and we couldn't be more excited!''
Lewis took the Robert Trent Jones Golf Trail by storm in 2012, completing the ''Alabama Slam'' with victories in Prattville and Mobile. Her wins in Alabama, supplemented by victories at the ShopRite LPGA Classic and the Mizuno Classic, helped vault her to Rolex Player of the Year honors. She was the first American since Beth Daniel in 1994 to win the award.
''I personally have a lot of great memories in the state of Alabama and am excited that we will get to play there twice again next year,'' said Lewis. ''The courses on the Trail provide a true test of golf and do a great job of showcasing the talent on tour.''