November 30, 2021 - 8:47 am
Updated December 1, 2021 - 4:15 am
The LPGA is coming back to Las Vegas next year, making it official with the release of the tour’s 2022 schedule that includes the Bank of Hope Match Play once again headed to Shadow Creek at the end of May.
The announcement is mostly a formality, with Bank of Hope and Shadow Creek having both signed three-year deals to hold the tournament. Exactly where it would land on the calendar was the main question.
The 2022 version is slated for May 25-29, a five-day tournament that will again feature three days of round-robin play in a pod system to reduce the field of 64 to 16 players, who will go head-to-head in a single-elimination bracket on the weekend.
The purse will again be $1.5 million, with $225,000 going to the champion.
As with the inaugural event, the Bank of Hope Match Play will be held the week before the U.S. Women’s Open. That was a convenient pairing in 2021 when the Open was held in San Francisco. In 2022, however, the year’s biggest major will be played at Pine Needles Lodge and Golf Club in Southern Pines, North Carolina.
Holding an event the week before a major may have lost the tournament a few top players, as Nelly Korda, Jessica Korda, Lydia Ko and Lexi Thompson were among those to skip Shadow Creek.
However, players who did compete in Las Vegas said it was one of the best venues and events they played all season, and they expected more players to want to come in the future.
“We had gifts outside our lockers almost every day. Great food. Just world-class treatment.” said 2021 winner Ally Ewing. “They’ve run the golf tournament really, really well, and I think they’ve set a pretty high standard for just the special treatment that we’ve gotten.”
One other major change for 2022 will be the return of fans. The Bank of Hope Match Play was one of the final events held this year that kept spectators off the course because of the ongoing coronavirus pandemic. There were also no spectators at the CJ Cup when the PGA Tour played at Shadow Creek in late 2020.
How spectators will fit among a very tight and difficult course to navigate will be an interesting aspect to the 2022 edition.
LPGA officials are not only excited about coming back to Las Vegas, but about the overall 2022 schedule which features some new events and increased purses.
“The stage is set for 2022 to be one of the most exciting years in the history of the LPGA Tour, with the addition of new events, the largest total purse ever, over 500 hours of broadcast television, and a collective commitment to being the leading women’s professional sports property in the world,” said LPGA commissioner Mollie Marcoux Samaan.
Samaan was actually part of the tournament storyline in 2021, having been named commissioner the week of the Bank of Hope event.
“As the home to the best female golfers in the world, we will continue to focus on offering a dynamic schedule that allows players to reach their peak performance in golf and in life, and that provides the platform to inspire young girls and women around the globe to dream big,” she said.
Two new events on the schedule include a fourth tournament in Southern California, the JTBC Championship (April 28-May 1) in Palos Verdes Estates, and the Kroger Queen City Championship (Sept. 8-11), marking the LPGA’s return to Cincinnati for the first time since 1989.
Greg Robertson covers golf for the Review-Journal. He can be reached at email@example.com.
What: Hero World Challenge.
Where: Nassau, Bahamas; Albany GC (7,309 yards, par 72).
When: Thursday-Friday, 10:30 a.m.-1:30 p.m. (Golf Channel); Saturday, 9-11:30 a.m. (Golf Channel), 11:30 a.m.-2 p.m. (KSNV-3); Sunday, 8-10 a.m. (Golf Channel), 10 a.m.-1 p.m. (KSNV-3).
Purse: $3.5 million. Winner’s share: $1 million.
— The Associated Press