For just second time since 1980, LPGA won’t have event in Arizona

Todd Kelly
·3 min read

PHOENIX — The LPGA released its 2021 schedule on Friday but there is a glaring omission for one of the country’s golf hotspots: there will be no LPGA event next year in Arizona.

It’ll be just the second time since 1980 that the LPGA will not stage a tournament there.

The Founders Cup, which picked up Volvik as a title sponsor for 2020, was never played. It was first postponed and later canceled due to the COVID-19 pandemic and the Volvik title sponsorship was never fully realized.

In 2021, there will be a Founders Cup but instead of being in Phoenix in March, the event will be at Mountain Ridge Country Club in West Caldwell, New Jersey, in October.

“We are still in discussions with our title sponsor about the future of the Founders Cup. While the tournament will be held in New Jersey in 2021, it may return to Arizona in the years ahead,” said Scott Wood, tournament director for the Founders Cup. “We will have more information in the coming weeks, but Phoenix and Wildfire Golf Club will always be incredibly special in the history of this tournament.”

The LPGA first held an event in Arizona in 1962 and had four events in the 1960s and four more in the 1970s before becoming an annual visitor to the Phoenix area starting in 1980 at Hillcrest Country Club in Sun City. In addition, the tour visited Tucson annually from 1981 through 2004.

In 2001 at Moon Valley Country Club in Phoenix, the one and still only 59 in LPGA history took place when Annika Sorenstam broke the magical barrier. Sorenstam won the event three times in all. Laura Davies won it a record four times, all in a row. Karrie Webb, Lorena Ochoa, Se Ri Pak, Juli Inkster and Stacy Lewis have also won the event.

The LPGA bounced around the Valley over those years, holding tournaments at seven different courses under 13 different names and yet, 2010 was the only year the tour missed its annual Arizona visit during that stretch.

In 2011, LPGA Commissioner Mike Whan announced the creation of the Founders Cup to honor the 13 women who created the LPGA. It didn’t have a title sponsor the first year and players agreed to accept no prize money. The 2020 event was to have commemorated the 70th year of the LPGA and the 10th rendition of the Founders Cup. It also would’ve been the first Founders Cup since the 2019 passing of Marilynn Smith, one of those 13 founders.

The LPGA’s 2021 schedule includes 34 official events and a record $76.45 million in official purses. The first full-field official event won’t take place until late February, but, it should be noted, every event that was postponed in 2020 has returned for 2021.

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