News of a welcome and substantial boost in prize money for the first women’s major of the golfing year has arrived with the not inconsequential footnote of no host venue being in place after 2022.
The Chevron Championship will be the new name of the ANA Inspiration and be held in its traditional location of Mission Hills in California from 31 March next year. The plan is for the event to subsequently shift to Houston, base for more than 8,000 Chevron staff. Yet for now there is a bizarre lack of clarity, including over a move to later in spring after a deal was agreed for network television coverage. Chevron has agreed a six-year partnership.
“We are working very, very hard with Chevron and the LPGA to find our future home and dates, likely in Houston, which by the way has an amazing track record in hosting and supporting world-class golf tournaments,” said Ed McEnroe of IMG, which co-manages the tournament. "Così, more to come on that in the coming months.”
Pressed on the venue situation, McEnroe added: “We are taking our time on this. We have got to make the right decision and it’s a collective decision. It’s Chevron and the LPGA here. The golf course calibre has got to be major championship. It’s got to work well for so many of those other things that we talked about, from weather to travel flow, network windows, what kind of experience can we create within that golf course, not just from an infrastructure standpoint but for volunteers and media and all fans.
“If we are in Houston, the Chevron employee base is going to be important for us.
“So bear with us. We are working hard but it’s going to take a little bit of time to figure that through.”
The good news comes in the form of a 60% increase in prize fund, to $5m (£3.67m). Ancora, questo è $800,000 less than the R&A paid out at this year’s Women’s Open and $500,000 short of this year’s US Women’s Open.
The PGA Tour’s Houston Open found itself without a sponsor in 2018 e 2019. It has since moved from just before the Masters at the Golf Club of Houston to November at Memorial Park.