2nd LPGA Tour Event For Canada Starts in 2012

The LPGA Tour comes to Waterloo, Ontario in 2012

A press conference was held in Waterloo, Ontario yesterday afternoon (June 28th) to confirm the arrival of the LPGA Tour to that area of the province.

The LPGA, along with event operator Sports Properties International, revealed that Manulife Financial has signed a three-year deal to title sponsor a new LPGA Tour event that will start in 2012. The Manulife Financial LPGA Classic will take place June 18-24, 2012, at Grey Silo Golf Course in Waterloo, Ontario, Canada. This will be a standard tour event with four rounds of play and room for 144 players in the field.

It is another feather in the cap for the still fresh commissioner, Mike Whan, who has been steadily rebuilding the tour after it took a stumble in recent years under the previous regime of Carolyn Bivens.  Bivens resigned from the Commissioner role in July of 2009.

“Manulife Financial and the Waterloo region are a perfect fit with the LPGA,” said LPGA Commissioner Mike Whan. “Manulife is a world wide leader in the financial services sector and like the LPGA it has a global presence that will help build connections to this tournament from around the world. We look forward to bringing the best female golfers on the planet to Grey Silo, and to broadcasting the Manulife Financial Classic to more than 170 countries.”

“I can’t tell you how thrilled we are to sponsor this exciting new tournament, and to have the opportunity to play an active role in bringing a world-class golf event to Waterloo Region’s doorstep,” said Brian Gooding, Senior Vice-President, Distribution. “Manulife has employees, customers and advisors in every country represented by the players in this tournament, so that’s why this is a perfect fit for us. Waterloo Region has such a strong community spirit of volunteerism – and that’s a great fit with Manulife’s national signature cause of volunteerism. We’re delighted to have this opportunity to bring local people together who will play such a critical role in the success of this event.”

Organizers are looking for close to 1,200 volunteers to help make this tournament a success.

The announcement was made by LPGA Chief Marketing Officer Jon Podany who had some great support on the day, partly thanks to the CN Canadian Women’s Tour event currently underway in nearby Action, Ontario where several LPGA members are in action.  In attendance were former and current pros Alena Sharp, Samantha Richdale, Beth Bader, Stephanie Sherlock, Sandra Post and Gail Graham. The Manulife Financial LPGA Classic becomes the second LPGA Tour event in Canada, joining the CN Canadian Women’s Open that started it’s tenure in 1973 as La Canadienne.

“I am honored that Waterloo and Grey Silo Golf Club have been selected as the location for this event,” said Waterloo Mayor Brenda Halloran. “Hosting the LPGA in our community provides a tremendous economic benefit to our city, and it will showcase some of the best female golfers in the world. We will be working closely with organizers and the neighboring community to ensure that this great event is successful and memorable for all concerned.”

“We’ve been working for the better part of a year to bring this event together,” said Sports Properties International CEO and Chairman, Hugh Morrow. “It’s been a pleasure to work with the LPGA, Manulife and the region, and we are extremely happy and pleased to bring a tournament of this caliber to the Waterloo region. Canadians are passionate about golf, and we know there will be a lot of excitement around this event every year.”

As expected, LPGA players are excited to see another event on the schedule, which has dwindled of late, and none more than the Canadian LPGA contingent, including Hamilton, Ontario’s Alena Sharp.

“The Manulife Financial LPGA Classic will work well in the flow of our season and I know the Canadian fans will be just as supportive as they have been at every other event we have played,” said Sharp. “It’s awesome to have a permanent location for a Canadian event right in my backyard.”

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