OCALA, FL. – The first event of the LPGA’s 66th season isn’t being held very far from the site of the circuit’s very first tournament, in 1950. That one was at Palma Cella Country Club in Tampa. It’s not far from the organization’s headquarters, either.
The 2015 opener is being played at Golden Ocala Golf & Equestrian Club, a beautiful facility nestled in the horse country of northwestern Florida. It’s about 100 miles from Palma Cella and it’s not much further to LPGA headquarters in Daytona Beach.
This season opener, though, is an indication of how far the LPGA has come, and the inaugural Coates Championship could trigger the biggest year yet for the premier women’s circuit.
This LPGA opener represents a departure from recent years, when the circuit usually played its first tournament outside of the U.S. (Four of this year’s first five events, though, will still be beyond U.S. borders – in the Bahamas, Australia, Thailand and Singapore).
The Coates Championship at Golden Ocala doesn’t have the traditional Thursday-Sunday run. This one started on Wednesday and will conclude on Saturday to avoid a conflict with the Super Bowl. Continue reading