The Ladies Professional Golf Association (LPGA) and The Dow Chemical Company (Dow) announced today a new official LPGA Tour event coming to Michigan’s Great Lakes Bay Region next summer. The Dow Great Lakes Bay Invitational, a 72-hole team event, will debut at Midland Country Club from July 17-20, 2019. The partnership between Dow and the LPGA is initially for five years.
“We are so thrilled to bring this event to the region to further showcase all that the Great Lakes Bay area has to offer,” said Jim Fitterling, chief executive officer-elect of Dow. “The impact of this event will extend far beyond the golf course, as this unique partnership offers a great platform to build our community and explore the intersections between golf, our business, and life, especially in the areas of careers and inclusion.”
The Dow Great Lakes Bay Invitational will offer a format unlike any other event on the LPGA Tour. The 72-hole, stroke-play tournament will feature 72 two-player teams competing in both foursomes and four-ball with a $2 million purse. Further details, including team composition guidelines and selection deadlines, will be finalized ahead of the 2019 LPGA Tour season. Tickets for the event will be modestly priced, including free admission for children age 17 and younger.
“Our players and fans have consistently asked about a team event on the LPGA. I know our players will enjoy this event, as much as our fans,” said LPGA Commissioner Mike Whan. “I’m excited and honored to have Dow expand its partnership with the LPGA family, and launch this incredible event. Personally, I can’t wait for 2019, when we debut the Dow Great Lakes Bay Invitational to our fans from around the globe.”
The announcement was made at Midland Country Club and showcased the true regionalism of the Great Lakes Bay by including live feeds from City Market in Bay City, Saginaw Country Club in Saginaw, Pohlcat Golf Course in Mt. Pleasant and Dow’s Global headquarters in Midland. LPGA stars Juli Inkster, a member of both the LPGA and World Golf Hall of Fame; Katherine Kirk; Brittany Lincicome; Jenny Shin; and Angel Yin joined community leaders, Dow and LPGA representatives and members of the Great Lakes Bay Region to celebrate the first time that a team format will be used in an official LPGA tournament since the Tour was founded in 1950.
While this is the first official team event for the LPGA Tour, there have been several unofficial team competitions since the Tour was founded in 1950. Notable unofficial team events include the Hot Springs 4-Ball Invitational (1955-58) and the Women’s World Cup of Golf (2000, 2005-08). Also, the Wendy’s 3-Tour Challenge (1992-2013) and Hyundai Team Matches (1994-97, 1999-2002) included competitors from the PGA Tour and PGA Tour Champions.
Similar to Dow’s sponsorship of the Dow Tennis Classic, the Dow Great Lakes Bay Invitational will seek to reach out to the region’s youth. Dow and the LPGA are committed to helping educate students about the sport of golf, enable them to engage and learn about pursuing excellence in health and wellness while at the same time appreciating the diverse international and cultural backgrounds of the players.
The Dow Great Lakes Bay Invitational will be the first elite professional event at Midland Country Club. The course opened in 1928 with a design by founding club member and community leader Gilbert A. Currie. The course was redesigned by Larry Packard in 1970 and by Jerry Matthews in 1990. The most recent redesign, headed by Craig Schreiner, was completed in 2009 and is highlighted by the signature 18th hole’s island green.
The Dow Great Lakes Bay Invitational joins the Diamond Resorts Tournament of Champions as new events for the 2019 LPGA season. It also further strengthens the partnership between the LPGA and Dow. Earlier this year, Dow joined the LPGA Tour as an Official Marketing Partner, and it also serves as a founding partner of the LPGA’s new online platform, the LPGA Women’s Network.