Sports Outside the Beltway

LPGA Tour adds China stop to 2008 Tour schedule

The limited field event will take place on a weekend between events in Hawaii and South Korea. From

Haikou, China, 29th April 2008 – The China Golf Association (CGA), Grand China Air, the Ladies Professional Golf Association (LPGA) and IMG today jointly announced that Grand China Air will title sponsor the LPGA’s first ever event in China, the Grand China Air LPGA, to be played from the 24th to 26th October, 2008 at the Haikou West Golf Club in Hainan’s capital, Haikou.

It is the first LPGA tournament to be played in China and the tournament was specifically developed by the CGA, the LPGA and IMG, as a platform for Grand China Air to promote their brand around the world as they look to expand into international markets.

Sixty-three of the world’s best players will compete for a purse of US$1,800,000. The player field is made up of the top 51 ranked available players on the LPGA Official Money List as of the 14th of September, 2008, and 12 invited players to be decided by the CGA, Grand China Air and IMG.

The new tournament was a poorly kept secret for months. While covering the Stanford International last weekend, the husband of one prominent tour player confirmed to me the China tournament would be added to the 2008 tour schedule.

The LPGA is truly an international tour. Interest in women’s professional golf seems stronger outside the US than within. Therefore it makes sense for the LPGA to increase the amount of tournaments it plays world-wide. With China on board now, how long will it be before events are played in Australia, Abu Dhabi, India, or somewhere in South America? Not long in my considered opinion.

Ryan and Hound Dog are also blogging on this news.

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