As its pandemic-shortened season wraps up this week in Naples, Florida, the LPGA has released its schedule for next year.
The tour plans to conduct 34 tournaments, plus the Solheim Cup, in 2021. This is up from just 18 events this year. There will also be a record $76.45 in prize money up for grabs next season and a few new events, including a match-play tournament in May.
“We can all agree that 2020, while certainly not the 70th anniversary year that we expected, was a year that we will never forget,” LPGA commissioner Mike Whan said. “As we look back at the year, I am amazed at how our partnerships have actually grown during this trying time, and how the LPGA staff was able to return all three tours to play in summer 2020. We actually added sponsorship sales in 2020 in the form of new title partners and new marketing partners, and we proved that professional golf can be played safely for all involved. And our fans responded. Social engagement is up more than 40% and TV viewership is up more than 30% over last year.
“As we look to 2021, we are recapturing the momentum that we had at the beginning of 2020 and we are excited about our future, which will include news of new title sponsors and several significant purse increases.”
Here are some notes on the new schedule:
• The 2021 campaign will begin at the Diamond Resorts Tournament of Champions on Jan. 21-24 in Orlando, Florida. That event announced earlier this week that it will only invite select guests and that the general public will not be permitted to attend. Two more Florida events will be played, one in late February and the other in early March, before the tour heads to California and ramps up its schedule March 25-28 at the Kia Classic in Carlsbad, California.
• While the LPGA’s two Australian stops, which usually happen in February, have been postponed until 2022, both Asian Swings are a go after being scrapped this year because of the pandemic. The first will begin in late April with an event in Singapore, followed by tournaments in Thailand, China. The LPGA will return to Asia in October and play events in China, South Korea, Taiwan and Japan before returning to the U.S. for its final two events in Florida.
• All five majors are back on the schedule, including the U.S. Women’s Open, which will move back to its summer date. The June 3-6 at The Olympic Club in San Francisco will feature a $5.5 million purse.
• The women’s portion of the Olympics will take place Aug. 4-7 at Kasumigaseki Country Club near Tokyo, and it will fit between a new co-sanctioned event with the LET and European Tour (July 29-Aug. 1) and the Ladies Scottish Open (Aug. 12-15). Qualifying for the 60-player field will conclude June 27, after the KPMG Women’s PGA Championship at Atlanta Athletic Club.
• Speaking of new tournaments, the LPGA will host a match-play competition May 26-30, though no further details, including a location, were released.
• The Solheim Cup is scheduled for Sept. 4-6 at Inverness Club in Toledo, Ohio. “Inverness is going to be an amazing venue for the 2021 Solheim Cup and I know that Toledo golf fans will support us like they always do,” said LPGA star Danielle Kang.