Rolex Player of the Year Yani Tseng and U.S. Solheim Cup veterans Natalie Gulbis, Christina Kim,
Brittany Lincicome, Kristy McPherson and Angela Stanford among those scheduled to play
Tournament adds $200,000 charitable purse for top-five finishers;
Donations to be made in player's name to their charity of choice
LPGA Founders Marilynn Smith, Shirley Spork and Louise Suggs and
LPGA Hall of Fame members Nancy Lopez, Pat Bradley, Betsy King and Patty Sheehan
set to join current players in Phoenix and participate in special activities
DAYTONA BEACH, Florida, Jan. 28, 2011 - The LPGA today announced early commitments to the first-annual RR Donnelley LPGA Founders Cup, an event that will showcase the LPGA's past, present and future, March 18-20, 2011 at Wildfire Golf Club at JW Marriott Phoenix Desert Ridge Resort and Spa in Phoenix, Arizona.
Fan favorites and U.S. Solheim Cup Team veterans Natalie Gulbis, Christina Kim, Brittany Lincicome, Kristy McPherson and Angela Stanford, and three-time major champion Yani Tseng are among those scheduled to tee it up in support of LPGA-USGA Girls Golf and other charities at the RR Donnelley LPGA Founders Cup.
Today on Golf Channel's Morning Drive, McPherson broke the news that prior to the first round of the RR Donnelley LPGA Founders Cup on March 18, each LPGA player will be asked to designate the charity for which she will play. At the end of the week, the tournament will donate $100,000 to the charity of the champion's choice and $50,000 to the charity of the runner-up's choice. The tournament will also donate $25,000, $15,000 and $10,000 to the charities chosen by the third, fourth and fifth-place finishers.
"I think it's a great opportunity for the LPGA, and [Commissioner] Mike Whan always says 'let's leave the Tour a lot better than it was when we found it,'" said McPherson on Golf Channel. "We have a chance to go do something great, and with the help of RR Donnelley we're going to be able to do that. It's still the same as far as Solheim Cup points, [Rolex] world rankings. It's our chance to do something great."
LPGA Commissioner Mike Whan also clarified RR Donnelley's role as title sponsor of the event.
"The great thing here is that RR Donnelley is paying full title sponsor money, including television costs, just like any other title sponsor would," Whan said. "In this case, we're able to use some of that money toward the operational costs of running the event and the rest to make a significant contribution to LPGA-USGA Girls Golf."
The 132-player field is currently full with an alternate list building. LPGA Founders Marilynn Smith, Shirley Spork and Louise Suggs will be in attendance along with LPGA and World Golf Hall of Fame members Nancy Lopez, Betsy King, Pat Bradley and Patty Sheehan, all of whom plan to play the pro-am and an 18-hole exhibition match on Friday morning.
"I truly feel like sometimes athletes in general can sometimes forget where we all come from," said Christina Kim. "A decade ago I wasn't playing for money, just a trophy and love of the game. The Founders of the LPGA didn't have the endorsement opportunities that we have today. I am so proud of Mike Whan's vision, for remembering it's not just about the future of the game, but also about remembering and honoring the past."
"I'm looking forward to playing in the Founders Cup," said Angela Stanford. "RR Donnelley supports the LPGA on many different levels and I know they want the charitable dollars to grow each year. The first year of anything is a learning experience and I think it's great that RR Donnelley is willing to learn and grow with us."
"It will be a regular tournament, you just don't [earn] money," said reigning Kraft Nabisco and RICOH Women's British Open champion Yani Tseng. "So, you're helping people and it makes you happy too. It doesn't matter how much money you win. Everything goes to charity and that's a very good thing."
In celebration of the LPGA's past, present and future, the net proceeds from the RR Donnelley LPGA Founders
Cup will benefit The LPGA Foundation and its LPGA-USGA Girls Golf program. LPGA Tour players will forego tournament earnings in support of Girls Golf which reaches more than 6,000 junior golfers annually.
Fans now can visit www.LPGAFounders.com to catch the most up-to-date information regarding the tournament, including player entries, tickets, volunteers and sponsorship opportunities. The 54-hole event will feature a field of 132 players and special appearances by LPGA and World Golf Halls of Fame members.