Paula Creamer likes what she sees after revisions to the RR Donnelley Founders Cup, so she’ll play in the inaugural event this month.
LPGA commissioner Mike Whan listened to his tour’s stars after Creamer, among others, said the purse should match the amount being donated.
Whan has delivered.
The LPGA announced Feb. 11 that the amount being donated to charity would double – $500,000 to the LPGA-USGA Girls Golf and $500,000 to designated charities of the top-10 finishers. The purse will drop from $1.3 million to $1 million.
“I believe Commissioner Whan has shown his leadership abilities by listening to his players, and implementing changes as a result,” Creamer, ranked No. 10 in the world and the second-highest American, said in a statement. “It would have been easy to just say ‘maybe next year.’ ”
Whan thanked the LPGA partners that helped raise more money: JW Marriott Desert Ridge Resort & Spa, Ping, TaylorMade, Nike, Callaway and Adams Golf.
“I certainly could have done a better job of initially articulating the details to players and media,” Whan said, “as that has led to some confusion about the tournament’s goals and objectives.”
Cristie Kerr also had expressed concerns. She has yet to commit, citing her personal schedule, but said Whan’s willingness to work with players shows a strength in the tour and his leadership.
“I’m not sure we would have been able to have constructive dialogue behind the scenes in former times,” No. 4-ranked Kerr wrote in an e-mail.
The March 18-20 tournament, the LPGA’s domestic opener, will be at Wildfire Golf Club at JW Marriott Phoenix Desert Ridge Resort and Spa in Phoenix.
Winnings still will be official, meaning the “mock” earnings will be applied the money list. The tournament champion will be able to donate $200,000 to the charity of her choice, second places gets $100,000, third place $55,000, etc.
Several players have announced designated charities: Kristy McPherson, Arthritis National Research Foundation; Natalie Gulbis, Boys & Girls Clubs of Henderson, Nev.; Beatriz Recari, The Alliance for Eating Disorders Awareness.
The top 5 in Phoenix will receive a spot in the Kraft Nabisco Championship.