Categories
Highlights Tours

Nicolas Colsaerts named as vice captain for the 2023 Ryder Cup

Luke Donald has named Belgian Nicolas Colsaerts as his third Vice Captain for the 2023 Ryder Cup which will be played at Marco Simone Golf and Country Club in Rome, Italy from September 26 – October 1, 2023.
 
Colsaerts was part of the most famous European victory in the annals of the Ryder Cup in the 2012 contest at Medinah; producing one of the most memorable debuts in the history of the event when he carded eight birdies and an eagle in partnership with Lee Westwood to help defeat Tiger Woods and Steve Stricker on the final green in the Friday fourball session.
 
Outside of the Ryder Cup arena, Colsaerts has won three times on the DP World Tour, previously known as the European Tour. His most recent was a dramatic triumph in the 2019 Open de France, where he entered the week battling to keep his Tour card and ended it style with a one shot victory. To date, he has played in 436 Tour events to lie 84th in the list of all-time appearances.
 
Colsaerts is a well-liked figure on Tour and will undoubtedly be a popular addition to Team Europe. The Belgian joins Dane Thomas Bjørn, the successful 2018 European Captain, and Italian Edoardo Molinari as Vice Captains for the 2023 contest; his appointment being the perfect belated birthday gift for him as he turned 40 only last week.
 
Colsaerts said: “My first reaction when Luke asked me was sheer joy. Every time I hear the words ‘Ryder Cup’, it takes me back to the edition I played in, how proud I was to wear the European colours and be part of such an unbelievable event. Of course, Luke was in that team too and when we spoke he mentioned how much he has always loved what the Ryder Cup means to me.
 
“Being a Vice Captain is a different role to being a player but, nevertheless, my mission in 2023 will be exactly the same as it was in 2012, namely, to make a contribution to the team in any way I can. Rest assured, whatever I am asked to do, I will do it.
 
“We already have two fantastic Vice Captains in Thomas Bjørn and Edoardo Molinari and we already have a special bond between us. We are all different personalities but that is interesting because when you put us all in a room together you will have different angles, and Luke will be able to take what is best from each of us.
 
“When you play team sport as a youngster you are told that the most important thing is to participate and while that is true then, when you are a professional golfer in the Ryder Cup, when you wear the colours and you step onto that first tee, the only thing you want to do is to win; not only for the other guys on the team, but also for the Continent you are representing. That is what we want to do in Rome.”
 
Captain Donald said: “Nico has been on my mind for a couple of months now to be honest. I played in the team with him in 2012 and you could just see how much it meant to him. He understands what it means to represent the European crest and what it means to be part of the Ryder Cup set-up. When I asked him, he literally had goosebumps – so I am very happy to have him as my third Vice Captain.
 
“Nico gets along extremely well with all the guys out here on the DP World Tour and he will be a great person to help keep an eye on things here in Europe in periods when I might be in the US. There is already great communication between us – myself, Thomas, Edoardo and Nico – and I couldn’t be happier with the way my backroom team is shaping up.”

Text: Team Europe/ DP World Tour

Categories
LPGA Tour

LPGA Tour Announces Record-Breaking 2023 Schedule

 In a breakthrough moment in the history of women’s sports, the athletes of the LPGA Tour, the world’s leading destination for female professional golfers, will compete for more than $101 million in official purses in 2023. The LPGA today announced that the 2023 schedule will comprise 33 official events, with a total official prize fund of $101.4 million, along with the biennial playings of the Solheim Cup and the Hanwha LIFEPLUS International Crown.

“Because of our athletes, partners, volunteers and incredible fans, 2023 will be a banner year for the LPGA Tour,” said LPGA Commissioner Mollie Marcoux Samaan. “The schedule features new events, elevated purses, unique formats and world-class golf courses. Our athletes are playing for more total prize money than any time in history, and we have over 500 hours of broadcast television. All those things combine to make the LPGA the leading women’s professional sports property in the world. The LPGA Tour has never had better or more committed partners who see the commercial value in investing in women’s sports and who understand how their partnerships elevate women and girls on and off the golf course. As the home to the world’s best female golfers, the LPGA provides a platform to inspire young girls and women to dream big.”

The 2023 global schedule will take the LPGA Tour to 11 states across the United States and 12 countries and regions. Starting with the annual season kickoff at the Hilton Grand Vacations Tournament of Champions, the Tour will visit Asia before heading to Superstition Mountain Golf Club in Gold Canyon, Ariz., for the fifth playing of the LPGA Drive On Championship. Superstition Mountain, the home club for numerous LPGA Tour stars, hosted the 2004-2008 Safeway International, with a Hall-of-Fame list of winners in Annika Sorenstam (2004, 2005), Juli Inkster (2006) and Lorena Ochoa (2007, 2008).

The Club at Carlton Woods in The Woodlands, Texas, will make its debut as host of The Chevron Championship, the first women’s major of the season, with a newly elevated purse of $5.1 million. The following week, the JM Eagle LA Championship presented by Plastpro will join the Tour schedule at Wilshire Golf Club in Los Angeles, boasting a $3 million purse.

New Jersey will host four events in 2023, starting with the Cognizant Founders Cup at Upper Montclair Country Club in Clifton, the LPGA Tour’s annual celebration of the past, present and future of the women’s game. The Mizuho Americas Open at Jersey City’s Liberty National Golf Club will include 24 elite female amateurs competing in a concurrent AJGA Invitational, playing alongside their professional heroes. The Bay Course at Seaview in Atlantic City will host the 35th playing of the ShopRite LPGA Classic presented by Acer, and the swing through the Garden State will end with a minimum $9 million purse at the KPMG Women’s PGA Championship, just the second elite women’s competition to be held on the Lower Course at the famed Baltusrol Golf Club in Springfield.

Two weeks later, the U.S. Women’s Open presented by ProMedica will bring female professional golfers to Pebble Beach for the first time, adding a new page to a history book that includes seven men’s majors. Players will compete for at least $10 million at one of the country’s most popular venues.

In July and August, the Tour will make its usual swing through Europe, opening in France with the Amundi Evian Championship and its $6.5 million purse. The AIG Women’s Open, which will be contested with a purse of at least $7.3 million, will take place at Walton Heath, host venue for the 1981 Ryder Cup. The LPGA Tour will then compete across the United States and Canada before heading back to Asia for the month of October.   

2023’s competitive schedule will culminate with back-to-back events along the Southwestern Florida coast. THE ANNIKA driven by Gainbridge at Pelican, featuring a purse of $3.25 million, will welcome 72-time LPGA Tour winner Annika Sorenstam as the official tournament host. Finally, the season will end at Tiburon Golf Club for the CME Group Tour Championship, with the winner receiving $2 million, the largest single prize in the history of women’s golf.

The 2023 season will also feature two exhilarating team competitions. The Hanwha LIFEPLUS International Crown, a team match-play competition that showcases the best female golfers from the top eight countries across the globe, will return to the LPGA Tour calendar for the first time since 2018

and will be held at San Francisco’s famed TPC Harding Park on May 4-7. And on Sept. 22-24, the Solheim Cup, featuring the 12 best U.S. players versus the 12 best European players, will be held at Finca Cortesin in Spain.

Categories
Ladies Tours

LPGA Tour: Tickets on sale for the 2023 AIG Women’s Open at Walton Heath

The AIG Women’s Open will visit  the Surrey venue for the first time in 2023 with the renowned layout having previously hosted the Ryder Cup, British Masters and The Senior Open presented by Rolex.

Taking place just outside London, a number of new ticket offers have been launched to entice fans in to enjoying the most international major in women’s golf.

Fans will now be able to watch the players practising on Wednesday 9 August with Practice Day tickets available to purchase along with Thursday to Sunday Championship Day tickets.

Ticket prices will start at £30 for an adult on Championship Days and from £10 on Practice Days, with this launch offer available for a limited time only.

“Delighted to play at Walton Heath”

Zoe Ridgway, Championship Director – AIG Women’s Open at The R&A said, “We are delighted to be playing the AIG Women’s Open at Walton Heath in 2023. As we return to the South-East for the first time in four years our goal is to make the Championship as accessible as possible for everyone.

“We are anticipating rising levels of interest and demand to attend the AIG Women’s Open and we have introduced Wednesday Practice Day tickets to offer fans even more opportunities to watch their favourite players in this world-class major championship.”

A number of offers are also available, including a £10 discount when booking a weekend bundle and a saving of £30 when booking the new five-day ticket offering.

Mastercard holders are also eligible for £10 off their ticket purchase when booking between 21-29 November 2022 as part of The R&A’s Black Friday and Cyber Monday offers.

To encourage children and young people to attend the AIG Women’s Open, The R&A will continue the successful ‘Kids go Free’ programme, which provides children under-16-years-old free entry to the Championship when accompanied by a paying adult. Half-price youth tickets are also available for 16-24-year-olds.

Hospitality packages are also on general sale, offering an unrivalled way to experience the Championship in which guests can enjoy over 10 hours of world-class action and fully inclusive hospitality. Visit www.aigwomensopen.com/hospitality/heathlandsuite for further information. 

For information on the AIG Women’s Open or to purchase tickets, please visit www.aigwomensopen.com

Text: R&A Media

Categories
European Tour

Gallacher among Ryder Cup stars seeking DP World Tour Q School redemption at INFINITUM

Stephen Gallacher is hoping to gain instant redemption and secure a 27th consecutive season on the DP World Tour as the Scot tees it up at INFINITUM this week for the return of the Qualifying School Final Stage.

The six-round marathon of golf will be played for the first time since 2019 and tension is building for the 156 players in the field, all of whom will battle it out for the 25 spots on offer to compete in the 2023 DP World Tour season.

Four-time DP World Tour winner Gallacher is one of four former Ryder Cup players in the field at the acclaimed Spanish venue, which will host the famous event from November 11-16. He is joined by fellow former Team Europe stars David Howell, Jarmo Sandelin and Chris Wood, forming an experienced quartet which boast 17 DP World Tour titles between them.

Gallacher: “You have to handle it like any other event”

The most recent of Gallacher’s four attempts at Qualifying School came 13 years ago, when he earned the third card on offer to bounce straight back after a disappointing 2009 season. He will be hoping he can repeat that feat this week at INFINITUM, a venue he has already played this year when the ISPS Championship in Spain was staged in April.

“You’re here for a reason and you’ve just got to handle it like any other event,” Gallacher said.

“You want to finish in the top 25, you want to win it and work your way around it. It’s six rounds and it’s a big mental battle more than anything, physically too. But I’ve done it three times and I’ve got my card three times so hopefully that trend continues.

“It’s been a whirlwind since 2009, I’ve reached my career goal with the Ryder Cup, I’ve had three wins, one of them with my son, and I’ve had my lows as well. But that’s golf, I got my card for the first time at Qualifying School in 2005, so it’s 27 years. You’re going to have your ups and downs, so I wouldn’t change anything.

“It’s a different chapter and you never know, you win here and you could win again next year – it could be the catalyst to work harder or figure out something.”

The tournament will be held over INFINITUM’s two 18-hole Championship courses, the Hills course and the Lakes course, both of which provide completely different challenges. Gallacher has been extremely impressed by the Tarragona resort and thinks it is a perfect fit for Qualifying School Final Stage.

“The Lakes is a great track and they’ve obviously reseeded it, changed it aesthetically as well, it looks really good and the greens are fantastic on both courses,” he said. “At the Hills, you’ve got to plot your way around, hit it in certain positions and it’s a lot tighter with more trees, whereas the Lakes is windier and dead flat.

“They pose very different challenges and you’ve got to adapt to both of them really. I quite like that; you’ve got to think all the time. They’re both challenging golf courses and you have to use your head.

“It’s exactly what you want for Qualifying School, it’s a great finish at the Lakes too. The 13th is a driveable par four, then you’ve got a good par three and then a couple of tough holes into the wind and then a reachable par five at the end. It’s got all the drama and everything you need, and I’ve no doubt the best players will get through at the end on this six-round format.”

Final Stage qualifying is the last opportunity for hopefuls to win their DP World Tour playing rights for the 2023 season and follows INFINITUM’s hosting of the ISPS Handa Championship in Spain earlier this season, over the Lakes course.

The 90-hole qualifying marathon has provided the platform for some of golf’s most famous names to go on to worldwide success, with Major champions José María Olazábal, Retief Goosen and Sandy Lyle among the list of previous winners since it was first held in 1976.

Final Stage qualifying was first played at INFINITUM in 2017, with England’s Sam Horsfield claiming victory to regain his Tour card along with 32 other players.

A year later, Spain’s Alejandro Cañizares and Zander Lombard, from South Africa, headed a list of 27 players who won their playing rights. Denmark’s Benjamin Poke topped the leaderboard in 2019 – with another 27 joining him in qualification – before the Covid-19 pandemic forced the postponement of the event.

Set to the west of the beautiful city of Tarragona on the Costa Dorada, INFINITUM is regarded as one of Europe’s most popular golf and lifestyle facilities in an area of natural beauty, and the 156-strong line-up will face two very different golfing tests next month.

The venue’s Lakes course was designed by Greg Norman and runs around the wetlands of the Sequia Major. As its name would suggest, water is the layout’s chief defence, testing players and their positional play on no fewer than 14 holes, while players will find the course in outstanding condition following extensive maintenance work this summer to upgrade the fairways from Rye grass to the more sustainable Bermuda Tifway grass.

The neighbouring Hills course poses an altogether different test; several elevated tees and tight landing areas are surrounded by mature, natural pine trees

Categories
LPGA Tour

LPGA Tour: Atthaya Thitikul Wins 2022 Louise Suggs Rolex Rookie of the Year Award

The LPGA Tour announced today that Atthaya Thitikul has earned the 2022 Louise Suggs Rolex Rookie of the Year award. Thitikul, who has two victories this season – the JTBC Classic presented by Barbasol and the Walmart NW Arkansas Championship presented by P&G – has clinched the honor after finishing in a tie for 10th at last week’s TOTO Japan Classic. Thitikul has earned 1,537 points and holds an insurmountable 250-point lead over Hye-Jin Choi, who withdrew from the Pelican Women’s Championship, with two events remaining in the 2022 season.

Thitikul is the second consecutive player from Thailand to earn Rookie of the Year honors and third overall, joining Patty Tavatanakit (2021) and Moriya Jutanugarn (2013).

LPGA Tour: Rookie of the Year

“It is such an honor to win the Rookie of the Year award, especially being the second consecutive player from Thailand to win this honor,” said Thitikul. “I’m happy to have made my home country proud. My rookie year has been really fun and memorable, but we still have a long way to go.”

The 19-year-old first earned LPGA Tour Membership after she finished third at LPGA Q-Series in 2021. In March, Thitikul became a Rolex First-Time Winner at the JTBC Classic when she defeated Nanna Koerstz Madsen in a playoff at Aviara Golf Club. She earned her second Tour title in September, beating Danielle Kang with birdie on the second playoff hole to win the Walmart NW Arkansas Championship. Along with her two victories, Thitikul has 13 additional top-10 finishes this season, including a solo fourth at the KPMG Women’s PGA Championship, a tie for eighth at the Amundi Evian Championship and a tie for seventh at the AIG Women’s Open.

In a rookie year to the world’s best

Thitikul recently ascended to No. 1 in the Rolex Women’s World Golf Rankings on Oct. 31, becoming just the second Thai player to ever do so alongside Ariya Jutanugarn. With two events left, she is currently second in the Race to CME Globe standings (2,690.127 points), third in scoring average (69.435) and tied for third in the Rolex Player of the Year standings (130 points), 20 points behind leader Lydia Ko. Thitikul is leading the LPGA Tour in both birdies (392) and top-10 finishes (15), is fifth on the season’s Official Money List ($2,110,142) and is tied for third in strokes gained total (1.950). She is also tied for fourth in eagles made this season (11).

Thitikul turned professional in 2020 after a stellar amateur career that saw her become the youngest person ever to win a professional tournament at the 2017 Ladies European Thailand Championship at 14 years, 4 months and 19 days. She also won the 2019 Ladies European Thailand Championship as an amateur.

Prior to joining the LPGA Tour, Thitikul won the Race to Costa del Sol, Rookie of the Year and Player of the Year honors in 2021 on the Ladies European Tour, joining Dame Laura Davies, Carlota Ciganda and Esther Henseleit as the only players to win the Race to Costa del Sol and Rookie of the Year in the same season. She is the youngest-ever winner of the Race to Costa del Sol at 18 years, 9 months and 8 days.

Thitikul will receive the Louise Suggs Rolex Rookie of the Year award at the 2022 Rolex LPGA Awards ceremony, to be held Thursday, Nov. 17, at the Ritz-Carlton Golf Resort in Naples, Fla. during the week of the season-ending CME Group Tour Championship. 

Since its inception in 1962, 12 Louise Suggs Rolex Rookie of the Year winners have become members of either the LPGA Hall of Fame or World Golf Hall of Fame: Susie Maxwell Berning (1964), Joanne Carner (1970), Jan Stephenson (1974), Amy Alcott (1975), Nancy Lopez (1978), Beth Daniel (1979), Patty Sheehan (1981), Juli Inkster (1984), Annika Sorenstam (1994), Karrie Webb (1996), Se Ri Pak (1998) and Lorena Ochoa (2003).

Text: LPGA Tour

Categories
Ladies Tours

Solheim Cup 2024: New points system and return to even years

The LPGA announced today that the 2024 Solheim Cup will be held Sept. 10-15 at Robert Trent Jones Golf Club in Gainesville, Va. The 2024 Solheim Cup, the 19th playing of the international team competition, will bring together the best female golfers from the United States and Europe, just outside the nation’s capital, for a celebration of athleticism and patriotism.

LPGA Tour: “We are looking forward to an unforgettable event”.

“We are so excited to finally share the official dates of the 2024 Solheim Cup, marking another step closer to bringing this incredible competition to life,” said Lindsay Allen, Executive Director of the 2024 Solheim Cup. “Robert Trent Jones Golf Club and the greater Northern Virginia area are already serving as gracious hosts for the Solheim Cup, providing the setting for what will undoubtedly be a can’t-miss event for sports fans around the world.”

New qualification system for Team USA

Points for the 2024 United States Team will start accruing at the 2023 Hilton Grand Vacations Tournament of Champions. In a new structure to the U.S. Solheim Cup points standings, players finishing in the top 40 at official LPGA Tour competitions will earn points, with those points doubled at the five major championships. In the Solheim Cup year, all points values will increase by 50%.

At the end of the 2024 qualification period, the top seven players in the U.S. Solheim Cup points standings will be named to the team. They will be joined by the top two players in the Rolex Women’s World Golf Rankings not already qualified and three captain’s picks.

“After taking an in-depth look at the history of the U.S. Solheim Cup qualifying process, we feel this new points structure will provide the most comprehensive picture of the American talent working toward representing their country,” said Tommy Tangtiphaiboontana, Senior Vice President of Tour Operations.

The 2023 U.S. Team will be built using the previous point structure, with points earned for top-20 finishes, points for the majors doubled, and points increasing by 50% in the Solheim Cup year. The U.S. Team qualification period will end following the 2023 CP Women’s Open.  

Solheim Cup returns to even year numbers

2024 will mark the Solheim Cup’s return to an even-year rotation, opposite the Ryder Cup, and for just the second time in history, it will be held in consecutive years, along with 2002 and 2003. The 2023 Solheim Cup will be held at Finca Cortesin in Spain on Sept. 22-24, with Stacy Lewis serving as captain for Team USA and Suzann Pettersen serving as captain for Team Europe.

Information on tickets and sales packages for the 2024 Solheim Cup will be available in early 2023.

Categories
LPGA Tour

2022 Pelican Championship shortendes to 54 holes

After meeting with senior LPGA and tournament leadership and in consultation with our on-site meteorologist, Pelican Golf Club will be closed on Thursday due to Tropical Storm Nicole. Due to the chance of a delay in Friday’s start of play, the LPGA has made the decision to shorten the Pelican Women’s Championship to 54 holes.

Forecasts call for 1-3 inches of rain and strong winds, with gusts up to 50 MPH. Local authorities have closed schools and may need to close bridges, which would affect access to the course. Due to the high winds, it is not safe to have players, caddies, fans, volunteers and staff on site.

The first round of the Pelican Women’s Championship will begin no earlier than Friday at 6:55 a.m. Friday morning’s forecast from our on-site meteorologist, who is constantly monitoring the latest data, includes a chance of a lingering thunderstorm. The Friday forecast is thankfully trending in a positive direction, and we will share additional information with you as soon as we can.

With a full field and limited daylight, we feel this decision provides the fairest test to the entire field. All services at Pelican Golf Club will be closed on Thursday, including dining, the gym and all practice facilities. We will have an update on Friday’s start of play on Thursday afternoon.

NELLY KORDA READY TO DEFEND TITLE AFTER ROCKIEST PATCH OF PLAY THIS SEASON

After taking five weeks off from LPGA Tour competition, NellyKorda will defend her title at the Pelican Women’s Championship presented by Konica Minolta and Raymond James and make what she hopes will be a triumphant return. However, Korda would prefer to win in a different fashion than last year, when she survived a four-person playoff against majorchampions Lydia Ko, Lexi Thompson and Sei Young Kim.

“Last year it was definitely a very interesting finish. I think I tripled 17 and then I birdied 18 to get into the playoff, and then I birdied my first hole in the playoff. So, yeah, didn’t make it very easy for myself,” laughed Korda, who birdied the first playoff hole in 2021 to take home the title. “I definitely lost a couple years off my life with the stress that I caused. Other than that, amazing memories coming back here. Hopefully I can make some really good ones this year.”

Korda’s victory at Pelican Golf Club is her most recent win on Tour, and the event was one of the last she played before she suffered a blood clot in her left arm in February of 2022, which forced her to spend nearly four months away from the game. She returned to the Tour in June in resounding fashion, earning five top-10 finishes in 10 events since coming back. But it all hasn’t been smooth sailing.  

“I would recap (this season) in it was a rollercoaster. There was definitely a lot of ups, a lot of downs,” Korda said. “I played some solid golf since coming back, but I’ve also overdone it and also played some poor golf. So, definitely a learning year, more about myself, more about my body.”

Korda missed the cut in her two most recent LPGA starts, the Walmart NW Arkansas Championship presented by P&G and The Ascendant LPGA benefiting Volunteers of America, the first of which marked the first time she missed playing the weekend since June of 2021. The seven-time Tour winner has only missed one cut in each of the 2019, 2020 and 2021 seasons. Luckily, Korda says it isn’t an injury that has contributed to her lackluster play as of late, but rather an overly competitive desire to make up for lost time.

“I think I missed so much of the year that I kind of wanted to make it all up in a sense,” she said. “I think I came back at the time that I needed to, or that was acceptable. The only thing that I may have made a mistake in is then trying to catch up and just being on the road too much and not taking a breather and stepping back and being fresh.”

Text: LPGA Tour

Categories
Ladies European Tour

Hall and Cowan excited to play in Jeddah as 2022 Aramco Team Series reaches conclusion

Star female golfers Georgia Hall and Olivia Cowan are in confident mood and excited to tee it up at Royal Greens Golf & Country Club this week in the final Aramco Team Series event of the year.
Hall returns to Jeddah following incredible recent success in King Abdullah Economic City after winning the Aramco Saudi Ladies International here in March, while Olivia Cowan is in the form of her career after winning her first Ladies European Tour title in the Hero Women’s Indian Open, two weeks ago.
Both are relishing the opportunity to be back in Saudi Arabia this week with Hall commenting: “I love coming back here. I really like this golf course; it is one of my favourites to play in my season and it is always in great condition. The weather is always good, and the wind can get up quite a bit in the afternoons which makes the course have a linksy feel which I really enjoy.
“There are some tough holes out there, but I can also reach pretty much every par 5 which is nice so that gives me some really good eagle opportunities and the chance to try and shoot some low rounds. Every time we come here as players, we also get really well looked after, so it’s just a really fun week.”

Olivia Cowan and Georgia Hall: “We are thrilled to be playing here”

Cowan echoed the sentiments of Hall and added: “I feel really confident about my game at the moment coming off the back of that first win in India. I’m just really looking forward to playing this course, I really love playing it and being back here in Jeddah. It’s challenging and fun to play in, and the team event makes it a bit more relaxing. I just love coming back here and can’t wait for the week to get going.”
The tournament draft took place last night where the teams for this week’s event were selected. Each of the 36 Captains have one individual pick, before they are allocated a random player at the draft, with the team element of the tournament being decided after day two of the event. Individual player scores are then carried over to the final day as an individual winner is crowned.
Hall will be joined in her team by young compatriot, Lily May Humphreys, as well as French golfer Anais Meyssonnier. Cowan used her pick to select young English star, Cara Gainer, while Team Cowan will be completed by another English player in Rachael Goodall.
Other standout teams are Team Charley Hull with the highest ranked player in the field, Hull, selecting Isabella Deilert, and being allocated Moroccan star Maha Haddioui, while Team Alison Lee will be completed by Camilla Lennarth and Diksha Dagar.
Defending individual champion Pia Babnik will be joined by Kristyna Napoleaova and Lauren Taylor for the first two days of competition as she looks to start her title defence in the best way. All teams will be completed by a championship amateur which differentiates the Aramco Team Series as unique and innovative and both Hall and Cowan believe golf’s global series as been an extremely welcome addition to the Ladies European Tour schedule.
Hall commented: “It is fantastic to get this support from Aramco and Golf Saudi and having the five events on the calendar of the Ladies European Tour has really boosted the Tour. I know speaking to a lot of players, they are really grateful for that support. “All the players just really enjoy coming to these events, it’s something different and just brings a different aspect to the game.”
Cowan emphasised Hall’s opinion adding: “The set up and everything they do for the players is amazing. The weeks are set up like a major and the Aramco Team Series puts a lot of effort into the event and looking after the players for the week. We really appreciate that and hope other companies continue to show the same support for growing women’s golf.”

This week’s tournament takes place at Royal Greens Golf & Country Club from 10-12 November with tickets available free of charge. To secure tickets please visit aramcoteamseries.com and follow the event on social media @aramco_series.

Text: Ladies European Tour

Categories
Ladies Tours

Atthaya Thitikul Becomes No. 1 in Rolex Women’s World Golf Rankings

For the first time in her career, Atthaya Thitikul has reached No. 1 in the Rolex Women’s World Golf Rankings as of the latest Rankings update. She becomes the 16th different player to reach No. 1 as well as the second player from Thailand to sit atop the Rolex Rankings following Ariya Jutanugarn, who was No. 1 for 23 total weeks between June 2017 and March 2019. Thitikul is also the second player to reach the No. 1 ranking in her LPGA Tour rookie year, after Sung Hyun Park in November 2017.

Rolex Ranking: Jin Young Ko must relinquish top position

Thitikul moved one spot on the Rolex Rankings to World No. 1, passing Jin Young Ko, who has held the top spot since Jan. 31, 2022. Ko first became World No. 1 in April 2019 and has spent 152 total weeks atop the Rankings, six weeks shy of Lorena Ochoa’s record 158 weeks at the No. 1 position.

Thitikul is only the second player under age 20 to reach No. 1 at 19 years, 8 months and 11 days, joining Lydia Ko. Ko was 17 years, 9 months and 9 days when she first reached No. 1 in February 2015, and 18 years, 6 months and 2 days the second time she ascended to the top spot of the Rolex Rankings in October 2015.

Atthaya Thitikul: “It is a great honor”

“It means a lot for my team, my family, my supporters and myself. It is such an honor to have my name at the top amongst the biggest names of the game,” said Thitikul. “It is very special to get to the top but it is much harder to retain it. I still have a lot to learn from all the legends and current players both on and off the course. I will continue to work hard for my family, my team, my fans and my country.”

Thitikul has two victories so far in 2022, becoming a Rolex First-Time Winner at the JTBC Classic presented by Barbasol and adding another win at the Walmart NW Arkansas Championship presented by P&G. Along with her wins, Thitikul has recorded 12 additional top-10 finishes this season, including three at major championships. She currently leads in the Louise Suggs Rolex Rookie of the Year standings with 1,487 points, is third in scoring average on Tour (69.432) and fourth in the race to become Rolex Player of the Year (129 points). Thitikul also ranks first on Tour in birdies (375), second in rounds in the 60s (44) and tied for fourth in number of eagles (11).

The successful step onto the LPGA Tour

Prior to joining the LPGA Tour, Thitikul became the youngest player ever to win the Ladies European Tour’s Race to Costa del Sol in 2021 while also securing Rookie of the Year and Player of the Year honors. At 14 years, 4 months and 19 days, Thitikul also became the youngest golfer to ever win a professional golf tournament with her victory at the LET’s Thailand Championship in 2017.

Text: LPGA Tour

Categories
European Tour

DP World Tour Enjoys Record Ticket Sales Across Key Summer Events

The DP World Tour has enjoyed record ticket sales across its key summer events in 2022, as fans have flocked to watch the world’s best compete for some of the oldest and most prestigious titles in golf.

Across four of the Tour’s most historic tournaments – Rolex Series events the BMW PGA Championship and the Genesis Scottish Open, in addition to the Betfred British Masters hosted by Danny Willett and the Horizon Irish Open – the DP World Tour has enjoyed a record 20 sold out days for general admission tickets and premium hospitality. Key tournament highlights include:

  • The 2022 BMW PGA Championship saw a 30% increase in ticket sales compared to the previous year, with three of the four competition days fully sold out in a tournament that was cut to 54-holes following the passing of Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II.
  • The 2022 Genesis Scottish Open in June, co-sanctioned with the PGA TOUR for the first time and with 14 of the top 15 players in the world rankings competing, saw a 12% increase in ticket sales compared to comparable pre-COVID sales in 2019.
  • The 2022 Horizon Irish Open in July saw a 40% increase in ticket sales compared to 2019. Weekend tickets sold out for the first time in the tournament’s history.
  • The 2022 Betfred British Masters hosted by Danny Willett in May enjoyed a sold-out final day, with a 4% increase in ticket sales compared to 2019.
  • Attendance figures across all four tournaments stood at 271,000.
  • Premium hospitality packages enjoyed complete sell-outs across all days at the Genesis Scottish Open, the BMW PGA Championship and the Horizon Irish Open.

DP World Tour sets ticket sales records

This ticketing success has led to a 32% increase in ticketing and hospitality revenue for these four tournaments in 2022 compared to 2019 – the last normal season before the pandemic. These tournaments have also enjoyed strong growth on social media for their dedicated tournament channels, with a 66% growth in follower numbers since 2019.

The DP World Tour also continues to deliver unforgettable experiences to fans, with attendees rating their overall event experience an 8.5/10. This benchmarks above UK major sporting event industry averages. The majority also expressed a desire to attend again and would strongly recommend the events to family and friends.

The fan base is also increasingly diverse, with a 39% increase in the number of female ticket purchasers for DP World Tour events this season compared to 2019.

This ticketing success has also been driven by the creation of Tour Consumer Experiences – a joint venture with industry-leading sports marketing and data technology company Two Circles. This is seeing the DP World Tour utilise Two Circles’ insights into sports fan behaviour and technology-driven sales and marketing capabilities.

New fans due to pandemic circumstances

Speaking about the record year Keith Pelley, Chief Executive Officer of the European Tour group, said: “Golf has enjoyed a significant boom in popularity since the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic with its outdoor nature allowing an earlier return to action than most sports – helping to attract new fans to the game. The DP World Tour has worked hard to make sure that we utilise this momentum and find innovative ways to attract new fans to our tournaments.

“We have enjoyed a record summer of golf, with big name players competing for record prize funds and spectators have turned out in record numbers to watch. The DP World Tour has never been in such a strong position, and we expect this momentum to continue into the final few months of the 2022 season with November’s DP World Tour Championship in Dubai already enjoying record registrations to attend.”

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Text: DP World Tour