The LPGA is getting into the team-event game, announcing last week the formation of the Dow Great Lakes Bay Invitational, which will be played in Michigan starting in 2019.
The 72-hole event will feature 72 two-player teams competing in a mix of fourball (best ball) and foursomes (alternate shot) formats to determine a winner for the $2 million purse. The team composition and selection guidelines will be announced at a later date, but we have no doubt the LPGA will do its best to make sure top-tier players are a part of the action.
“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.”
This is considered the first team event in LPGA history, but there have been some unofficial team events dating back to the Tour's founding in 1950, including the Hot Springs 4-Ball Invitational (1955-58), the Women’s World Cup of Golf (2000, 2005-08). The Wendy’s 3-Tour Challenge (1992-2013), JCPenney Classic (1960-1999) and Hyundai Team Matches (1994-97, 1999-2002) included competitors from the PGA Tour and PGA Tour Champions.
The Dow Great Lakes Bay Invitational will be played at Midland Country Club, opened in 1928 and designed by founding club member Gilbert A. Currie. The course was redesigned by Larry Packard in 1970 and by Jerry Matthews in 1990 before by Craig Schreiner completed his work in 2009. The signature hole at the club is now the island-green 18th, which could be a great closing team hole.