LPGA, PGA of America new partners in an old major

Published on NewsOK Modified: May 29, 2014 at 7:35 am •  Published: May 29, 2014
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DUBLIN, Ohio (AP) — The LPGA Championship is getting a new name, two big partners and a lot more exposure.

In what amounts to a merger announced Thursday morning, the LPGA Tour and PGA of America have become partners in the Women's PGA Championship. It will be the first women's major run by the PGA of America starting in 2015 at Westchester Country Club in New York.

KPMG will be the title sponsor and use the week to host a major conference that brings together top female executives from business, politics, sports and society.

"Of anything we've done over the last 18 months, there's nothing I'm more excited about than this," said Pete Bevacqua, the chief executive of the PGA of America. "We're excited because we feel we need to do something big, something important with the women's game. Our two key mandates are serving our members and growing the game. And so much of growing the game is getting more women involved."

The plan is to move the KPMG Women's PGA Championship around the country. The purse will increase in 2015 to $3.5 million, up from $2.25 million this year, and it will become only the second LPGA Tour event on network television, joining the U.S. Women's Open.

NBC Sports will televise the Women's PGA on the weekend.

The LPGA Championship dates to 1955 and had been sponsored by Wegmans in Rochester, New York. LPGA commissioner Mike Whan said Wegmans had reached a point that it could no longer be a title sponsor, and the solution proved to be ideal.

The partnership means the LPGA can lean on the PGA of America to run the major — Kerry Haigh, who sets up the PGA Championship and American-based Ryder Cup courses, will be in charge of Women's PGA. And it allows the LPGA's second-oldest major to rotate to major markets.

Whan said most of the championships will be in the New York area, allowing KPMG a strong market to host its business forum, though it would move to other markets to create space from a glut of majors in the area over the next decade.