BOCA RATON, Fla. (AP) The LPGA Tour has a new title sponsor for its development tour that will boost prize money, award $ 10,000 to each of the top 10 players graduating after the LPGA Tour and attempt to eventually cut entry fees by half.
Epson America has a five-year contract with the LPGA Tour, which runs until 2026.
The newly announced Epson tour, which will begin the first week of March in Florida, will announce its schedule in a few weeks.
“This groundbreaking partnership will provide extensive opportunities for the future stars of the game from around the world to test their talent and take one step closer to realizing their dreams,” said LPGA Commissioner Mollie Marcoux Samaan.
The development tour is entering its 42nd year of structured competition, and it has yielded future stars such as Karrie Webb, Lorena Ochoa, Inbee Park and Nelly Korda. Nine players who started on the tour secured 12 wins on the LPGA Tour last season.
The LPGA’s agreement with Symetra expired last year.
Japan-based Seiko Epson Corp., a global technology company, is the parent company of Epson America, based in California.
More than being the title sponsor of the main track leading up to the LPGA Tour, it will launch the Epson Tour Ambassador Program, giving $ 10,000 to the top 10 players to give a financial boost when on the LPGA Tour start.
The standard tournament prize money will be $ 200,000, another increase.
The commitment is apparently about three times greater than the previous season.
The deal also includes Epson contributing money to reduce entry fees by 10% for each tournament for each player, which will save up to $ 1,000 for each player.
And through the Epson Tour DEI partnership, the company and the LPGA are challenging at least four companies to join them by working to reduce entry fees from $ 500 to $ 250. Participating companies will receive Pro-Am venues and advertisements at every Epson Tour event.
“We do not just want to put our name on the Epson tour. We want to find ways to invest in players who pursue their dream of the LPGA Tour and support them as soon as that dream becomes a reality, ”said Kendra Jones, Epson America’s vice president of legal affairs and general counsel.