LPGA Tour will start 2014 season in January with Bahamas Classic

Ilhee Lee at the Pure Silk Bahamas Classic
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Ilhee Lee won the inaugural Pure Silk Bahamas Classic to cap a rainy week last May.
PGA.com news services

Series: LPGA Tour

Published: Wednesday, September 25, 2013 | 7:20 p.m.

DAYTONA BEACH, Fla. -- For the first time in 13 years, the LPGA Tour schedule will begin in January next season as the second annual Pure Silk Bahamas LPGA Classic will open the season in a new date. The $1.3 million event returns to the Ocean Club Golf Course at Atlantis, Paradise Island, from Jan. 23-26.

“It will be great to start our season in Paradise,” said LPGA Commissioner Michael Whan. “Playing in the Bahamas in an East Coast time zone will be a great way for our fans to watch our season-opening event live on Golf Channel.”

The move takes the tournament from late May to late January in advance of the LPGA Tour’s traditional February Asia-Pacific Swing. In 2013, Ilhee Lee became a first-time winner at the inaugural Pure Silk-Bahamas LPGA Classic, which was rain-shortened to 36 holes.

“We are big believers in the LPGA,” said Barbasol/Pure Silk CEO Thomas Murray. “We had a tremendous inaugural tournament last May and are thrilled to have the opportunity to kick-off the LPGA season in The Bahamas.”

The last time the LPGA played an official money event in January was 2001, when three were contested during the month.

“The Bahamas are excited to be the season-opening event location for the LPGA tour in 2014. We think there is a special relationship between golf fans and early tour events as everyone dreams of summer and imagines the joy golf will bring them,” said David Johnson, director general of The Bahamas Ministry of Tourism. “We fully expect that our weather will be picture perfect for this event and the players, and viewers, will get a good look at the attractions of our destination. Our islands are a year-round destination for golfers and this January kick-off for the ladies golf season will surely showcase that.”