DAYTONA BEACH, Fla. -- One month before its season begins, the LPGA Tour announced a 28-tournament schedule Tuesday that includes five majors, three additional tournaments and prize money closing in on $50 million.
LPGA Tour Commissioner Mike Whan delivered a balanced schedule that circles the globe. It starts next month in Australia. More than half the tournaments are in North America. The Asian Swing late in the year includes a new tournament in China. And the season ends in November with the CME Group Titleholders and $700,000 to the winner, the biggest payoff in women's golf.
Whan also announced that CME, the title sponsor of the season-ending Titleholders, has extended its deal through 2016.
''Our tournaments are about customers a lot more than they are about the players and television,'' Whan said. ''If you do the right thing with the customer, you'll end up being with the customer a lot time.''
Along with a full schedule, the LPGA Tour will get 300 hours of television coverage, the most in its history.
The LPGA Tour took a beating during the economic downturn and a previous administration that alienated sponsors. Two years ago, the tour had only 23 tournaments.
Whan is close to what he considers an ideal schedule of no more than 32 tournaments – enough to give his players ample starts, still small enough that the tournaments can expect to get a majority of the best players.
The LPGA Tour previously announced a new tournament in The Bahamas on May 23-26 and a return to Texas, its first official event in the Lone Star State since Meg Mallon won the U.S. Women's Open at Colonial in 1991. The North Texas LPGA Shootout will be April 25-28, three weeks before the PGA Tour arrives in town for its Texas Swing.
The third new tournament is in China toward the end of the year – the Reignwood Pine Valley LPGA Classic the first week in October, which launches an Asian swing that will take players to Malaysia, South Korea, Taiwan and Japan.
''The performance, approachability and growing popularity of our players in the No. 1 factor in the LPGA's continued momentum, which has led to expanding coverage on Golf Channel, the growing slate of playing opportunities and our ever-increasing fan base,'' Whan said.
The Evian will become the fifth major, held Sept. 12-15 in France with a $3.25 million purse. That will be the last of a strong lineup of majors that includes the U.S. Women's Open going to Seabonack on Long Island, and the Women's British Open returning to the Old Course at St. Andrews.
The season begins Feb. 14 with the Women's Australian Open at Royal Canberra, followed by stops in Thailand and Singapore before the domestic schedule starts March 14 with the RR Donnelley LPGA Founders Cup in Arizona.
Stacy Lewis was the LPGA player of the year in 2012, the first American to win the highest award since Beth Daniel in 1993. Inbee Park captured the money title, and 2012 also saw the emergence of Na Yeon Choi, who won the U.S. Women's Open and the Titleholders. The biggest surprise was Yani Tseng, who won three tournaments before April to cement her status as the best in women's golf, only to fall in a mysterious slump.
Her lead in the ranking was so large that Tseng goes into the season still at No. 1.
The biggest tournament on the schedule is the Solheim Cup, with Mallon as the captain as she tries to keep the Americans' record perfect on home soil. It will be played Aug. 16-18 at Colorado Golf Club.
Here is the 2013 LPGA Tour schedule:
Feb. 14-17: ISPS Handa Women’s Australian Open
Royal Canberra Golf Cllub
Feb. 21-24: Honda LPGA Thailand
Pattaya Old Course, Siam country Club
Feb. 28-Mar. 3 HSBC Women's Champions
Sentosa Golf Cllub, Serapong Course
Mar. 14-17: RR Donnelley LPGA Founders Cup
Wildfire Golf Club
Mar. 21-24: Kia Classic
Aviara Golf Club
Apr. 4-7: Kraft Nabisco Championship
Mission Hills Country Club
Rancho Mirage, CA
Apr. 17-20 LPGA Lotte Championship
Ko Olina Golf Club
Kapolei, Oahu, HI
Apr. 25-28: North Texas LPGA Shootout
Las Colinas Country Club
May 2-5: Kingsmill Championship
Kingsmill Resort, River Course
May 16-19: Mobile Bay LPGA Classic
RTJ Golf Trail, Magnolia Grove, Crossings Course
May 23-26: Pure Silk-Bahamas LPGA Classic
Ocean Club Golf Course
Paradise Island, Bahamas
May 31-Jun. 2: ShopRite LPGA Classic
Stockton Seaview Hotel and Golf Club, Bay Course
Jun. 6-9: Wegmans LPGA Championship
Locust Hill Country Club
Jun. 21-23: Walmart NW Arkansas Championship
Pinnacle Country Club
Jun. 27-30: U.S. Women’s Open
Sebonack Golf Club
Jul. 11-14: Manulife Financial LPGA Classic
Grey Silo Golf Course
Waterloo, Ontario, Canada
Jul. 18-21: Marathon Classic
Highland Meadows Golf Club
Aug. 1-4: Ricoh Women's British Open
The Old Course, St. Andrews
St. Andrews, Scotland
Aug. 16-18: The Solheim Cup
Colorado Golf Club
Aug. 22-25: CN Canadian Women's Open
Royal Mayfair Golf Club
Edmonton, Alberta, Canada
Aug. 29-Sept. 1: Portland Classic
Sept. 12-15: Evian Championship
Evian Resort Golf Club
Oct. 3-6: Reignwood Pine Valley LPGA Classic
Pine Valley Golf Club
Oct. 10-13: Sime Darby LPGA Malaysia
Kuala Lumpur Golf & Country Club
Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia
Oct. 18-20: LPGA KEB HanaBank Championship
Sky72 Golf Club, Ocean Course
Oct. 24-27: Sunrise LPGA Taiwan Championship
Sunrise Golf & Country Club
Yang Mei, Taiwan
Nov. 8-10: Mizuno Classic
Kintetsu Kashikojima Country Club
Nov. 14-17: Lorena Ochoa Invitational
Gualalajara Country Club
Nov. 21-24: CME Group Titleholders