Categories
LPGA Tour

Lydia Ko: Despite mom’s insult, the former prodigy is better than ever at 25

Lydia Ko will probably have to put up a new wardrobe at home in Orlando – with all the trophies she brings home from the CME Group Tour Championship: the glass globe for winning the LPGA final tournament, the silver bowl of the Vare Trophy, the “Player of the Year” awards and everything else the 25-year-old was presented with at the Tiburon Golf Club in Naples. “The winner takes it all,” ABBA once warbled. But despite the record check for two million dollars and a total of 4,364,403 dollars for three victories and a total of seven top-five finishes since the Amundi Evian Championship in July, the most successful prize money season of all time didn’t work out. Lorena Ochoa was “better” by $591 in 2007.

“She’s made peace with herself”

But money, as we all know, isn’t everything. Especially when the “main prize” is standing on the edge of the 18th green: Ko’s fiancé Jun Chung. “He makes me smile, motivates and inspires me to become a better person and a better player,” says the New Zealander. “Since she met him, she has made peace with herself,” confirms her sister Sura.

Lydia Ko and Jun Chung have been a couple for almost two years, writing letters to each other for six months until the Corona pandemic allowed the first real date. Meanwhile, Chung, who lives in San Francisco, is the son of a Hyundai manager, works in the finance department of the Korean car company and first had to Google his new pen pal’s golf career, had taken up golf himself. On December 30, the two will marry in Kos and Chung’s native Seoul.

But after that, not much will change, says Chung, who likes to stay out of the camera’s focus: “She’ll keep playing. I don’t want to get involved in that. I want ‘Lyds’ to give all she can in the time she has ahead of her at this top level.” In turn, she says, “Since I’ve been with him, I want to make better use of the time I have to work on my game. To then be able to really enjoy the time off. I feel like that helps me train better and focus more.”

Three “meager” years already count as a crisis there


Time is the key word in every sense of the word for change, for the development of exceptional golfer Lydia Ko, who began as a teenage sensation, won her first professional tournament at 14, became the youngest tour winner in LPGA history at 15 years, four months and two days at the Canadian Open in August 2012, was number one in the world amateur rankings for 130 weeks and won her first professional tournament at the age of 18. Before the age of 20, she had already won two majors and the silver medal in golf’s Olympic comeback, and now has 19 LPGA victories to her name.

With such a golfing career, three years, the period between July 2016 and April 2021, with only one tournament title and a drop to 46th in the world rankings, can seem like a sporting crisis: “When you’re not playing so well, you have these weaker moments that feel so long. All too often, she has linked her existence exclusively to the numbers on the scorecard, identifying herself by her results on the golf course, Ko admits self-critically and unapologetically.

Interviewer rendered speechless

As bluntly as she spoke in June about her menstrual cramps and their effects on her back muscles (“It’s that times of the month”) after asking for medical help during the round – which literally left the interviewer from the “Golf Channel” speechless.

Equally candid, she says Jun Chung has given her “a new outlook on golf and life”: “How he perceives me doesn’t depend on my performance on the course.” And that’s precisely why “above all, I really wanted to win the BMW Ladies Championship last month in both our motherland, South Korea, with him by my side.” Mission accomplished. If Rosamunde Pilcher had written this plot, the whole world would have called it kitsch.

“You played better when you were 15”

So be it. From Ko’s point of view, the balance in her life has never been better. Without the period of the so-called form crisis, “I probably wouldn’t have the attitude I have today,” she says after her first season of multiple wins since 2016. “I feel like I matured a lot during that time.” And then isn’t fazed by a “You played better when you were 15” comment from her mother Tina: “What am I supposed to do with that information?” After nine years on the tour, you act differently, you’re simply more experienced, more familiar with the processes and conditions.

“Experience is the reason why some players play successfully on the tour for 15, 20 years. They hit their balls and know what’s going to happen. That comes naturally over time. Experience is like having a 15th club in the bag.”

Lydia Ko

On and off the court – starting with training on “more different types of grass than you can name in the same breath,” grins the new world number two behind Nelly Korda. “I used to play up liberated because I was young and clueless. Today I’m freer because I’ve learned to take things as they come and deal with them.”

Soon to be youngest Hall of Fame member

No question, the former child prodigy has grown up. And will probably soon become even the youngest member “ever” in the LPGA Hall of Fame. Until now, or since 2016, this privilege has gone to Inbee Park, who had to turn 27 to become a member. Ko, meanwhile, is only two points short.

Categories
LPGA Tour

LPGA Tour: Lydia Ko Wins 2022 Rolex Player of the Year Award, Vare Trophy

DAYTONA BEACH, Fla., Nov. 10, 2022 ­– The LPGA Tour announced today that Lydia Ko earned the 2022 Rolex Player of the Year award with her win ­at the CME Group Tour Championship. Ko, who earned two additional victories this season at the Gainbridge LPGA at Boca Rio and the BMW Ladies Championship, is the 15th different player to win the award at least twice.

The 25-year-old also won the 2022 Vare Trophy for recording the season’s lowest scoring average of 68.988. Her season-long scoring average is the second-lowest Vare Trophy-winning scoring average in Tour history, behind Annika Sorenstam’s 68.70 in 2002. Sorenstam and Ko are the only two players to win the Vare Trophy with a scoring average in the 68s. Ko is the 12th player in LPGA Tour history to win the award in consecutive seasons and the 15th player to win the trophy more than once.

With the CME Group Tour Championship victory, the Rolex Player of the Year honor and the Vare Trophy, Ko now has 25 points toward qualifying for the LPGA Hall of Fame, two points shy of the 27 needed to be inducted.

“It’s a dream come true” for Lydia Ko

“I feel like it’s really difficult to compare, like, when I won the Player of the Year in 2015 to now. I don’t even — I don’t do stats very much, so I don’t even know what it is actually by numbers, but this year has been special,” said Ko following her win at the CME Group Tour Championship. “To win again at the Gainbridge so early in the season after winning in LOTTE last year, especially when I didn’t feel like I was ready, it kind of came to me as a surprise. Winning in Korea was special at a place where I was born, and it was my goal to have won there once. And to kind of do that, it was like a bucket-list thing.

You know, coming into these two events in the Florida stretch because I had won in Korea, I wanted to not have too high expectations. And obviously I wanted to end the season on a high but, you know, know that whatever happens and even though there’s a lot of things on the line, just know that it’s been a great season. And to be the Player of the Year and to win the Vare Trophy again and to win the CME Group Tour Championship, it’s a dream come true. To be able to do it in front of family and my team, you know, it’s a very special one.”

Ko entered the week in Naples, Fla. as one of four players with a mathematical chance of winning Player of the Year, leading the standings with 150 points, one clear of Minjee Lee and 20 ahead of Brooke Henderson and Atthaya Thtiikul. She also led Thitikul by 0.386 of a stroke heading into the final event, meaning the Thai rookie would have needed to score 35 strokes better than Ko to have a chance at the Vare Trophy.

The Kiwi set herself apart from the first day of play, managing the windy conditions throughout the week better than anyone to earn her second wire-to-wire victory of the season and of her career. By the end of the second round, Ko had a five-stroke lead on the field, but Irishwoman Leona Maguire made the most of Moving Day to tie things up before the final day. A 2-under 70 was all Ko needed on Sunday to finish -17 overall, two strokes ahead of Maguire, and secure the three season-ending titles.

Ko won her first Rolex Player of the Year award in 2015 after earning five victories that season, including her first major championship title at the Amundi Evian Championship. She earned her first Vare Trophy last year with a season-long scoring average of 69.329. Her accolades include the 2021 Founders Award and the 2014 Louise Suggs Rookie of the Year honor.

Ko celebrates her 19th LPGA Tour win

Along with her three victories this season, Ko notched 11 additional top-10 finishes, including third-place finishes at the Palos Verdes Championship presented by Bank of America, the Amundi Evian Championship and The Ascendant LPGA benefiting Volunteers of America.

Ko is now a 19-time LPGA Tour winner (ranked T29 on the LPGA Tour’s All-Time Wins List), with major titles at the 2015 Amundi Evian Championship and the 2016 Chevron Championship. She is a former World No. 1 in the Rolex Women’s World Golf Rankings, first achieving the top spot in February 2015 as the youngest player ever to be ranked No. 1 in professional golf. Ko is also the only amateur in history to win two LPGA Tour events, and officially joined the Tour as a 2014 rookie after petitioning for Membership in October 2013. Ko is a two-time Olympian representing New Zealand, winning the silver medal at the 2016 Rio Olympics and the bronze medal at the 2020 Tokyo Olympics.

The prestigious Rolex Player of the Year award was introduced to the LPGA in 1966. LPGA Tour players are awarded points at each official LPGA tournament based on top-10 finishes with the top points earner taking home the prestigious honor each year. Points are doubled at each of the LPGA’s five major championships – The Chevron Championship, the KPMG Women’s PGA Championship, the U.S. Women’s Open presented by ProMedica, the Amundi Evian Championship and the AIG Women’s Open.

The Vare Trophy was presented to the LPGA by Betty Jameson in 1952, in honor of the great American player Glenna Collett Vare. Vare Trophy scoring averages are computed on the basis of a Member’s total yearly score in Official Tournaments divided by the number of official rounds she played during a season.

(Text: LPGA)

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
Ladies European Tour

A star is born at the Aramco Team Series – Jeddah



Noja celebrates her first win on the tour

The Dubai-based high school senior matched the tournament low of 65 in the final round at Royal Greens Golf & Country Club to secure her place in the play-off while Hull produced four birdies in her last six holes to tie with Noja on 13-under-par in regular play.
Despite the pressure on the young schoolgirl, Noja played picture-perfect golf for unfaltering back-to- back birdies in the play-off, enough to secure the victory and the $75,000 first prize.

Following an invitation from the tournament organisers, Noja took a break from her mock GCSE’s to play and joked earlier in the week that “the goal is to win this week so I don’t need school anymore” after accidentally bringing the wrong books to study in Jeddah.
After the goal came to fruition, Noja said: “I don’t think it’s sunk in quite yet. I think the happiness will come later this evening. Before we went out, my Dad showed Charley a picture of me with her as a 10-year-old. It’s like a full circle, it’s a blessing.
“I’ve worked hard over a lot of years now to be able to not back out of shots and commit to everything that I do and not be afraid to fail.”
“I have no clue what the plan is next.” Noja added “I can’t even begin to fathom it, I’m just going to try and relax tonight. Maybe have a burger and sleep, probably the best night sleep I’m ever going to get and see how I feel.”

Nicole Garcia also pleased the crowd on 18 with an eagle from off the green to secure sole posession third place. She had a lot to celebrate this week as she led her team to victory here in Jeddah, her second team championship win as captain.

Another play-off in the team event


For the first time on the Aramco Team Series both the individual and team competitions were decided in play-offs with Team Garcia – Nicole Garcia, Cassandra Alexander, Tereza Melecka, and amateur Sonia Bayahya – claiming victory with a birdie in the first play-off hole against Team Wolf.
Garcia nominated teammate Alexander to take on the play-off against Christine Wolf, who was teamed up with Laura Beveridge, Alexandra Swayne, and Saudi-female Raghdah Alessawi, who was the teams
amateur.
Team Captain Nicole Garcia, who’s now captained her team to victory twice, commented after the win: “Cassandra and I have known each other for a long time and we’d spoken before we even knew we were in the play-off that she was in, so it was already decided yesterday.”
After hitting the winning shots down 18, Alexandra said: “It was a bit nerve-wracking but I kind of knew what I was going to have in from previous rounds so I went to the range and hit a couple of that shot
beforehand. I hit a 7-iron, and it was enough to get the job done.”
Amateur Sonia Bayahya played a significant part in her team reaching the play-off today and added to their comments, “It’s a really good experience. Really the playoff victory was so good. I really felt part of the team, the girls were so sweet with me – thanks to them and thanks to all of Aramco Team Series.”
Jeddah marks the end of the 2022 Aramco Team Series following events in Bangkok, London, Sotogrande, and New York. 2022 marks the second year of the $1 million team tournaments on the Ladies European Tour schedule.

(Text: Aramco Team Series)

Categories
Ladies European Tour Ladies Tours

Hull takes the lead in Round 2 at the Aramco Team Series Jeddah

The Aramco Team Series Jeddah is primed for an electric final day at Royal Greens Golf and Country Club as world number 17 Charley Hull takes a one-shot lead over defending champion Pia Babnik, Caroline Hedwall, and Virginia Elena Carta, while Team Garcia and Team Wolf will head to the 18th tomorrow for a play-off to determine the team victors. 

Hull made her seventh birdie of the day on the last to shoot a blemish-free 65 and take the lead as she sets her sights on her second win in the last three starts. 

Following the round, Hull commented: “It was a really really good front nine, I even missed a couple of putts but I’m not complaining…I’ve put some good work in this year and now it’s all coming together. I wasn’t massively confident coming into this week but I’m feeling much better now I’ve played some golf and just enjoying it out here.”

Babnik is looking at a repeat of last year’s Aramco Team Series Jeddah victory as she matched Hull’s low round of the day with just the one blemish and eight birdies enroute to finish one behind. The 18-year-old said after the round: “I’m really happy, I played really good today. There were some good shots I hit and then the wind stopped which was frustrating but overall, I am happy with the round I played. I really played well, gave myself a lot of chances.”

Virginia Elena Carta also sits in that second-place spot and accredits some of her strong form this week to the team format at the Aramco Team Series, she said after the round: “It’s much easier to play well when you have a good team and when you are able to enjoy yourself out there… I really played for the team today. I’ll take it one shot at a time tomorrow and see, there are birdie opportunities out there, it’s just a matter of giving myself some chances and trying to make some good putts.”

The team championship will be decided on the final days play with Team Wolf and Team Garcia tied on 29-under after 36-holes of play. The two teams will take to the 18th hole following the conclusion of the individual event tomorrow to decide the Aramco Team Series team champion.

Nicole Garcia, who is just two shots behind the individual lead, led her team of Casandra Alexander, Tereza Melecka, and amateur Sonia Bayahya to the top of the leaderboard and commented after the round: “My team was in great spirits, and we really tried hard out there. It was tough to make the putts on these greens, but my team managed to pull it off so I’m really proud.”

Christine Wolf will be joined in tomorrow’s playoff by teammates Laura Beveridge, Alexandra Swayne, and amateur Raghdah Alessawi.

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