The LPGA’s Symetra Tour will not make a stop in Janesville this summer.
Featuring a purse of $150,000 and a field of 144 players looking to punch their ticket onto next season’s LPGA Tour, the Janesville Classic was slated to be held Aug. 4-6 at the Janesville Country Club.
Instead, the event was cancelled and will be replaced by the LPGA Senior Pro-Am, a 36-hole pro-am competition Aug. 3-4.
As many as 30 LPGA Legends are expected to team up with three area amateurs per day in a team format. The event was announced Monday.
Yet, despite the cancellation of the Symetra event, Janesville LPGA Senior Pro-Am Chair Bill Kennedy said the city and LPGA organizers are not ruling out a future return engagement.
“It’s certainly not dead in the water,” Kennedy said of Symetra Tour making a stop and hosting a tournament at the Country Club at some point. “We’ll see how the first year goes with our Legends or seniors event as they like to call it—and whether we think those two can co-exist down the road.
“We have no objections to bringing these young girls in for a Symetra event. They’re excellent golfers and the future of the LPGA, but I think for this year, there was more interest in a pro-am-type format based on the feedback we got.”
Kennedy said one of the strongest selling points of holding the pro-am event compared to a Symetra Tour stop this year was name recognition. The two-day pro-am hopes to attract such LPGA legends as Nancy Lopez, JoAnne Carner, Laura Davies or possibly Madison native and 2006 British Open champion Sherri Steinhauer.
“Our biggest concern when we first talked about doing a senior pro-am was whether we’d be able to attract some of the legends of the LPGA,” Kennedy said. “But once we got in contact with the LPGA and asked them about the availability and who might be interested in coming, they told us interest would be high in coming to a first-time event at an older and well-respected venue like the Country Club.
“And certainly there is no greater promoter for your organization than the ones that helped put it on the map.”
Kennedy hopes to have a partial list of those Senior LPGA players expected to participate in the next couple weeks.
The Symetra Tour is the official developmental golf tour of the LPGA Tour. Tour membership is open to professional women golfers and to qualified amateurs.
The top 10 leading money winners at the end of the season gain membership on the LPGA Tour for the next season, with those finishing in the top five positions gaining higher priority for entry into events than those finishing in positions six through ten. Finishers in positions 6-10 still have the option to attend LPGA Qualifying School to try to improve their membership for the following season.
The Symetra Tour also offers instant promotion to the LPGA for those who win three times in a single season, similar to the PGA-affiliated Web.com Tour and European Tour-affiliated Challenge Tour.
“This year, the LPGA Pro-Am is a better fit than the Symetra Tour,” Kennedy said. “But that’s this year. Who knows what might happen down the road.
“We’ll explore all opportunities in order to make this a successful event that the community can be proud of and look forward to each year.”