CARLSBAD — The Ladies Professional Golf Association, or LPGA, announced that it will host its first full-field domestic event of the season at Carlsbad’s La Costa Resort and Spa in 2010.
The LPGA Classic presented by J Golf will showcase the talent of the association’s players from March 22 to March 28. More than 140 players will compete on the resort’s 72 par course for a chance at a purse of $1.7 million.
“If you’ve never been to an LPGA event, it will only take you one to become a lifelong fan,” incoming LPGA commissioner Michael Whan said.
As the first big domestic event of the season, Whan stressed that it will be a prime time to glimpse what the LPGA has to offer. All of the big names are expected to attend, as “no player misses the first major and no one misses the first full field event,” he said. “These players are going to be on go.”
The association has partnered with J Golf to host the event through 2014. The game will be broadcasted by the Golf Channel and four live rounds will be aired in prime time on their network.
Whan cited several aspects of the tour that set it apart from others, most notably the constant surprises in the game and the player interaction with fans. Each day offers another chance for players to advance or fall behind in the game, which often leaves fans guessing.
“If you try and pick who’s going to win, I’m not sure you could,” Whan said.
The LPGA players easily attract fans because they are so willing to snap a picture or sign an autograph on the green, Whan said. Players also interact online writing blogs and participating in live chats to post updates and answer questions for fans. Whan notes that he is often “overwhelmed at how interactive our players are with the fans.”
“You’ll be amazed at how much you feel a part of the action,” Whan said.
One of the 2009 season’s rookies, 20-year-old Mina Harigae of Monterey, will be making her tour debut at the LPGA tournament. She has already earned a name for herself in the golf world as the Duramed Futures Tour’s Player of the Year and Rookie of the Year of 2009 and is looking forward to succeeding in the upcoming season.
“A lot of the rookies did well and it motivates me,” Harigae said. Although she took a few tournaments off during the 2009 season, she came back and won to secure a spot on the upcoming tour.
As the tournament continues to garner attention, the LPGA is “hoping for 30,000 (visitors to attend) for the week,” said Jim Felechner, tournament director for the LPGA Classic presented by J Golf.
For more information and to get tickets to the event, head to the newly launched lpgalacosta.com.