NAPLES, Fla. (AP) – Purses on the LPGA Tour will rise by $4 million in 2016, and officials are aiming for a second event in China.
The tour released next year's schedule on Friday, with 18 of the 33 official events held in the United States. Prize money will rise from $59.1 million to $63.1 million, a tournament has been added in Michigan and the LPGA will take a three-week break to accommodate the return of golf to the Olympics in August.
"Stability with growth," LPGA Commissioner Mike Whan said. "We've had some dramatic things we needed to address in the last six years ... and the numbers, I think, kind of speak for themselves."
In 2011, the LPGA had 23 official events and $40.5 million in purse money with 220 hours of television coverage. The TV hours will increase again to about 410 next year. The LPGA also announced Friday a partnership with the Oneida Tribe of Indians of Wisconsin for a tournament that will start in 2017 and offer a $2 million purse.
"It's an exciting time," Whan said.
The 2016 schedule starts with five tournaments in five different countries, matching the layout of the past two years. The season begins in the Bahamas in late January, and the first event in the United States is the Coates Golf Championship at Ocala, Florida. It ends Saturday, Feb. 6, and won't conflict with Super Bowl 50 the next day in Santa Clara, California.
The five majors are the ANA Inspiration ending April 3, the KPMG Women's PGA Championship ending June 12, the U.S. Women's Open ending July 10, the Women's British Open ending July 31, and The Evian Championship ending Sept. 18. The Olympic field will be set the day after the Women's Open, meaning a chance exists that the British Open champion might not be Rio-bound.
"The Olympics is making 2016 a little more crowded than a typical LPGA schedule in the middle of the summer," Whan said. "But it's a great problem to have when you have to get condensed because you're about to play in the Olympics for the first time in 100 years."
China was expected to host two events in 2015, though one was canceled about two weeks before the start. The LPGA plans to return for an event that ends Oct. 2. Whan said he's confident the second tournament – which is still listed as TBD on the schedule – will come together as planned.
Other nations on the 2016 schedule: Australia, Thailand, Singapore, Canada, Malaysia, South Korea, Taiwan and Mexico.
Next season ends again at the CME Group Tour Championship on Nov. 20 in Naples, Florida.
Here is the schedule:
LPGA Tour: Pure Silk-Bahamas LPGA Classic
Paradise Island, Bahamas
LPGA Tour: Coates Golf Championship
LPGA Tour: ISPS Handa Women’s Australian Open
LPGA Tour: Honda LPGA Thailand
LPGA Tour: HSBC Women’s Champions
LPGA Tour: JTBC Founders Cup
LPGA Tour: Kia Classic
Mar. 31-Apr. 3
LPGA Tour: ANA Inspiration
Rancho Mirage, Calif.
LPGA Tour: Lotte Championship
LPGA Tour: Swinging Skirts LPGA Classic
San Francisco, Calif.
Apr. 29-May 1
LPGA Tour: Volunteers of America Texas Shootout
LPGA Tour: Yokohama Tire LPGA Classic
LPGA Tour: Kingsmill Championship
LPGA Tour: Volvik Championship
Ann Arbor, Mich.
LPGA Tour: ShopRite LPGA Classic
LPGA Tour: KPMG Women’s PGA Championship
LPGA Tour: Meijer Classic
LPGA Tour: Walmart NW Arkansas Championship
June 30-July 3
LPGA Tour: Cambia Portland Classic
LPGA Tour: U.S. Women’s Open
LPGA Tour: Marathon Classic
LPGA Tour: International Crown
LPGA Tour: Ricoh Women’s British Open
Milton Keynes, England
Rio de Janeiro, Brazil
LPGA Tour: Canadian Pacific Women’s Open
LPGA Tour: Manulife LPGA Classic
LPGA Tour: Evian Championship
Evian Les Bains, France
LPGA Tour: Sime Darby LPGA Malaysia
Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia
LPGA Tour: KEB-Hana Bank Championship
LPGA Tour: Fubon LPGA Taiwan Championship
LPGA Tour: Blue Bay LPGA
Hainan Island, China
LPGA Tour: Toto Japan Classic
LPGA Tour: Lorena Ochoa Invitational
Mexico City, Mexico
LPGA Tour: CME Group Tour Championship
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