LPGA Legends Tour to Play Major at Tampa's Innisbrook Resort

LPGA Legends TourThe Legends Tour, the official senior tour of the LPGA and comprised of the greatest female golfers of all time, will play its first major championship at Innisbrook Resort and Golf Club in November. The Legends Tour Open Championship will be contested on Innisbrook’s Island Course from November 20-22, 2009, and feature a $300,000 purse.

The announcement came at a press conference at Innisbrook that featured Legends Tour CEO Jane Blalock, LPGA Acting Commissioner Marty Evans, Innisbrook Owner Sheila C. Johnson and several of the Legends Tour players, including past champion Rosie Jones, Dale Eggeling, Colleen Walker, Renée Powell and Pat Bradley. The Tour has more than 100 members, including nine LPGA and World Golf Hall of Fame members, and its players have accumulated more than 600 LPGA Tour victories and 55 major championships. 

“Because of the championship venue, a committed field and the support of the local community, we felt it was time to host our tour’s first major tournament,” said Blalock.  “The Legends Tour Open Championship is guaranteed to be the pinnacle event on our calendar, thanks to the generous support of Dr. Haruhisa Handa and Innisbrook Resort. We look forward to competing at Innisbrook for many years.”

The 36-hole stroke play tournament, which is sanctioned by The Legends Tour, will feature two days of competition, a pro-am, and community outreach programs like children’s and women’s golf clinics. Tickets will be available via local charities as well as online and at the gate.

More detailed ticket information will be released on August 15. Sponsorship opportunities are available at every level. For information, including pro-am spots, contact Megan Gardner at 617-997-6194 or via e-mail at mgardner@jbcgolf.com. Additional tournament information can be found at www.legendstouropen.com or www.thelegendstour.com.

Previously played in Japan and Australia, the Legends Tour Open Championship has been elevated to major status by Tour officials for 2009. The event is sponsored by the International Sports Promotion Society (“ISPS”), an organization created by Dr. Handa, a Japanese businessman and philanthropist. It is a part of The Legends Tour’s Handa Series, which features other international events sponsored by Dr. Handa.

Innisbrook, which has recently completed an extensive renovation under the guidance of its management company Salamander Hospitality, currently hosts the PGA Tour’s Transitions Championship event every March at its Copperhead Course. In a previous incarnation, that tournament featured mixed teams of male and female professionals, which proved popular with spectators.

“As a strong supporter of women’s sports, I am thrilled that The Legends Tour will hold its first major championship at Innisbrook” said Sheila C. Johnson, the resort’s owner and CEO of Salamander Hospitality. “The Island Golf Course was the first location renovated under my ownership exactly two years ago, and it provides a beautiful and challenging setting for the legends of the women’s game to compete for a place in history.”

Like Innisbrook’s three other championship golf courses, the Island Course was designed by Larry Packard. With tight fairways, 70 feet of elevation changes, intimidating water hazards and abundant bunkers, it is considered by many to be as demanding as the Copperhead Course. The Island Course has played host to numerous U.S. Open qualifiers, NCAA Championships and has been ranked among the country's top 50 resort courses by Golf Digest.

For more information about the Legends Tour Open Championship, visit www.legendstouropen.com. For more information about Innisbrook Resort and Golf Club, visit www.innisbrookgolfresort.com or call (727) 942-2000.


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