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April 27, 2017

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LPGA Tour features record prize money

DAYTONA BEACH, Florida -- The LPGA Tour will have four new tournaments next year with an increase of US$4.35 million in total prize money.

Commissioner Mike Whan announced the 2017 schedule Wednesday. It features 34 official tournaments, 21 of them in North America and 16 with prize money of US$2 million or more. Whan said the U.S. Women's Open would have a US$5 million purse, the largest ever in women's golf.

"While we receive credit for being a global tour, we're just as proud that we've added more events in North America since 2011 than we have abroad," Whan said. "It's an exciting time for our organization and we cannot wait to start another great season in January."

Some of the events previously were announced.

The surprise was the Lorena Ochoa Invitational in Mexico moving from November to May and switching to match play. The field was particularly weak this year because it was between the end of the fall Asia swing and CME Group Tour Championship in Florida.

The season starts Jan. 26 in the Bahamas with the Pure Silk Bahamas LPGA Classic. The Coates Championship played in Ocala is no longer on the schedule. Another domestic event, the Swinging Skirts Classic in San Francisco in April, has moved to Taiwan in the fall.

Total official prize money is US$67.35 million, up nearly US$10 million from 2014.

Two of the new tournaments are in the United States — the Thornberry Creek LPGA Classic in Oneida, Wisconsin, and the Indy Women in Tech Championship at Brickyard Crossing that weaves through Indianapolis Motor Speedway. The other two are the Aberdeen Asset Management Ladies Scottish Open and the McKayson New Zealand Women's Open.

After the Bahamas, the LPGA plays three weeks in Australia, Thailand and Singapore before playing its first domestic event in Arizona on March 16-19 at the Bank of Hope Founders Cup. It also has a seven-tournament swing through New Zealand and Asia at the end of the year.

The KPMG Women's PGA Championship will be at Olympia Fields in the Chicago suburbs, which hosted the 2003 U.S. Open. The U.S. Women's Open will be at Trump National in Bedminster, New Jersey, and the Ricoh Women's British Open will be at Kingsbarns near St. Andrews.

The 2017 schedule also features the Solheim Cup in Des Moines, Iowa.

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