The inaugural LPGA Founders Cup took place in Phoenix, Arizona in March 2011 with RR Donnelley as the name sponsor. The tournament was created by the LPGA to honor the 13 women who founded the LPGA, recognize those currently supporting the sport, and celebrate the future stars of the LPGA. That tournament was not without controversy, as there was no purse, meaning that the players did not play for prize money, only to raise money for charities and create more positive exposure for the sport.
The event was a success, proving that the Phoenix area can successfully support a professional women's golf tournament (we had one for many years — the Safeway International). In 2012 the LPGA announced it was returning to Phoenix, with some major enhancements. The Founders Cup now pays tribute to the people who had a major role in creating the LPGA. The current players will compete for a purse of $1.5 million, and $500,000 supports the LPGA-USGA Girls Golf Program.
Karrie Webb won the inaugural RR Donnelley LPGA Founders Cup tournament in 2011, and Yani Tseng took the title in 2012. Stacy Lewis was the 2013 champion. Long-time professional Karrie Webb from Australia took the title in 2014. In 2015, rookie Hyo Joo Kim shot a 67 in the final round to defeat Stacy Lewis for the first place prize.
In late 2013, the LPGA announced that RR Donnelley would no longer be the title sponsor of the LPGA Founders Cup. In 2014, JTBC, a leading broadcasting company in South Korea, became the title sponsor for the newly-named JTBC Founders Cup. In 2017, a new title sponsor, The Bank of Hope, puts its name on the tournament. The LPGA has confirmed its commitment to keeping the tournament in the Valley of the Sun.
When is the Bank of Hope Founders Cup?
March 13 - 18, 2018. It is a four-day, 72-hole format. Monday is a qualifier day. Tuesday is for practice rounds. Wednesday is the Pro-Am, and the actual competition begins on Thursday. Gates open at 8 a.m. for practice rounds on Tuesday, at 7 a.m. Wednesday through Sunday.
Wildfire Golf Club at JW Marriott Phoenix Desert Ridge Resort and Spa, 5350 East Marriott Drive. That is in North Phoenix, very close to North Scottsdale. During the tournament, however, you will NOT be parking there. Parking will be provided at Horse Lovers Park, 19224 N. Tatum Blvd., with shuttle service. Parking passes are available online in advance or bring $5 cash for parking. Handicap Parking will be located at this same location.
Tickets are $20 plus tax for each day's grounds pass. You can purchase tickets in advance, no extra charges, online or at the gate ($5 more at the gate). A pass for every day, Tuesday through Sunday is $50 plus in advance, $65 at the gate.Tickets are good any day, so you don't have to decide in advance which day you'll attend. You may also purchase various types of pavilion and suite tickets which provide access to special seating areas and, in some cases, includes food and beverage.
Yes. The Golf Channel will cover the tournament all four days.
Children 17 and under are admitted free (grounds pass only) with a ticketed adult, maximum four free junior admissions per ticketed adult.
Good to Know
There are two 18-hole championship courses at Wildfire Golf Club. During the tournament, the ladies will play a combination of the two courses, 9 holes of each.
On each day of the tournament, the ladies will tee off from both the 1st and the 10th tee boxes.
Cameras are permitted on Tuesday and Wednesday only.
Camera carrying cases, backpacks and other larger bags are not permitted. Chairs are fine, but not the chair bags. Cellular phones are permitted but must be turned off or silenced when you are anywhere near the field of play.
For more info, visit the LPGA Founders Cup online.