DAYTONA BEACH, Fla., (November 20, 2015) – The Symetra Tour, Road to the LPGA, announced the 2016 preliminary schedule today along with two major initiatives to connect the Symetra Tour with the LPGA Tour. The 2016 preliminary schedule, which will begin the week of February 15 in Beaumont, Calif.,
currently features 23 events and the highest individual tournament purse, total and average purses in the 36-year history of the Tour. The season will once again conclude with the Symetra Tour Championship the week of October 10 in Daytona Beach.
“This is the earliest we’ve released our schedule and its another example of how far this Tour has come in an effort to truly mirror the LPGA,” said Chief Business Officer Mike Nichols. “By partnering with Symetra and our tournaments, we have been able to grow average purses and allow our members a better opportunity to earn more money while chasing their LPGA dreams.”
The new Symetra purse matching program that was announced in October along with Symetra’s extension through the 2021 season as the entitlement partner of the Tour has been instrumental in growing returning tournaments purses. Of the 14 tournaments that have announced their purse level for 2016, half have taken advantage of the purse matching program.
The 2016 preliminary schedule features four tournaments with purses of $200,000 or higher; Chico’s Patty Berg Memorial ($200,000), Self Regional Healthcare Foundation Women’s Health Classic ($250,000), Sioux Falls GreatLIFE Challenge ($210,000) and the Symetra Tour Championship ($200,000). For perspective, there were no $200,000 events in 2013 and just one in 2014. Further, in 2012, the highest single tournament purse was one event at $150,000. In 2016, a minimum of nine tournaments will have purses at or exceeding $150,000.
The Symetra Tour also announced a new initiative that includes two all-expense paid exemptions into The Evian Championship for the top two finishers at the Symetra Tour’s FireKeepers Casino Hotel Championship at Battle Creek Country Club in Battle Creek, Mich. (July 22-24). This is the first time that the Symetra Tour has offered exemptions into an LPGA Tour major championship.
“The best way to prepare our members for the next stage of their career is giving them first-hand experience,” said Nichols. “This is huge for the Symetra Tour to provide two of our players the occasion to measure their game against the best on a big stage and also get their feet wet traveling internationally to compete. We are grateful to our friends at The Evian Championship for extending this unique experience.”
The second big initiative is a partnership with the TLPGA Tour (Taiwanese LPGA Tour). Twelve of the top TLPGA players and Taiwanese amateurs will earn entry into the Florida’s Natural Charity Classic (April 8-10) and the Chico’s Patty Berg Memorial (April 14-17) before heading to San Francisco to compete in the
Swinging Skirts LPGA Classic (April 21-24).
Other highlights of the preliminary schedule include five four-round events, a new event in Kansas City, Missouri (Kansas City Championship) and the addition of the second joint Legends Tour event at the Self Regional Healthcare Foundation Women’s Health Classic. The 2015 Chico’s Patty Berg Memorial was the first time LPGA Hall-of-Famers from the Legends Tour like Pat Bradley and Nancy Lopez were paired with Symetra Tour players while competing for separate purses and trophies.
The Tour’s final schedule will be released in early January once all tournaments and purses are finalized.