A field of 144 top women golfers are in town this week to compete for a $1.7 million purse at the LPGA Lotte Championship at Ko Olina, April 18-21.
It is one of five new tournaments announced as part of the LPGA’s 2012 schedule. The LPGA has come to the Ko Olina Golf Club previously on nine occasions between 1990-1995 and 2006-2008. Paula Creamer is the most recent champion, defeating Jeong Jang by one stroke in 2008. Both will be returning to the course this week, along with Hawaii’s own Michelle Wie.
“We have a fantastic field,” says Jon Podany, LPGA’s chief marketing officer. “We’ll have 97 of the top 100 players from last year’s money list.”
Rolex Rankings No. 15 Sun Young Yoo and No. 5 I.K. Kim are also competing this week after their dramatic finish to the Kraft Nabisco Championship in Rancho Mirage, Calif. earlier this month. Kim will be looking for redemption this week after falling short to Yoo in a one-hole sudden-death playoff.
Other players slated to tee off are Yani Tseng, Stacy Lewis and Karin Sjodin.
Podany says Hawaii’s beauty will be shown around the world.
“We’ll have worldwide coverage. All four rounds will be live in the United States on the Golf Channel and it will be primetime on the East Coast,” he explains. “Coverage will be incorporated into international TV packages distributed around the world in 130 countries and 200 million households, in particular in Japan and Korea.”
Title sponsor Lotte (pronounced Low-Tay), recognized as one of the most active golf sponsors of Korea, has achieved successful marketing in Asia through the Lotte Mart KLPGA Open, the Lotte Cantata KLPGA Open, the Lotte Mart Women’s Golf Team and the Lotte Card Women’s Amateur Golf Tournament. Lotte’s sponsorship of the LPGA marks the company’s first foray into global sports sponsorship out of Asia.
Lotte entered the food business in 1967 as Lotte Confectionery & Ice Cream Korea. Today it is Korea’s 5th largest business group, embracing a variety of industries including food and beverage, QSR, retail channels, tourism and hospitality, chemical, construction, manufacturing, finance and service.
Photo: Courtesy LPGA