Well, this is an interesting move from the LPGA and PGA Tours. A new mixed event to be played this December, with 32 players competing for a $4 million prize fund.
The PGA TOUR, LPGA Tour and Grant Thornton LLP have announced a new mixed-team Challenge Season event that will see LPGA Tour and PGA TOUR players compete together in a unique co-sanctioned tournament.
The Grant Thornton Invitational is set to debut December 4-10, 2023, at Tiburón Golf Club and The Ritz-Carlton Naples, Tiburón. The precedent-building event will allow players from the PGA TOUR and LPGA Tour to compete for an equal prize and visibility – a format new to the current era of professional golf.
The last time the two tours held an annual mixed-team competition was in 1999, when John Daly and Laura Davies won the final edition of the JCPenney Classic.
Sixteen players from each tour
The Grant Thornton Invitational’s 32-player field will be comprised of 16 PGA TOUR and 16 LPGA Tour professionals competing for a $4 million purse – with additional format details in development. The three-day tournament will be televised on NBC and Golf Channel.
“As we look to capitalize on the growing interest in the game of golf, the addition of a mixed event to the calendar has been a priority, and we greatly appreciate title sponsor Grant Thornton for their support in delivering an event that will make our sport more appealing and welcoming to all,” PGA TOUR Commissioner Jay Monahan said. “We look forward to partnering with the LPGA as we deliver first-class entertainment and competition to our fans and the residents of Southwest Florida, who have embraced the PGA TOUR for the past 22 years.”
“We could not be more excited to add the Grant Thornton Invitational to our 2023 schedule,” said LPGA Commissioner Mollie Marcoux Samaan. “By joining forces with the PGA TOUR to host a mixed event where the top male and female golfers in the world compete alongside each other, we’re going to deliver a memorable and entertaining experience for all golf fans, showcasing our players’ incredible skills in a new context to a new audience. This is an important step forward for golf, women’s golf and the LPGA. We’re incredibly grateful for the leadership of our partners at the PGA TOUR and Grant Thornton, and we look forward to producing a best-in-class event that inspires, elevates and advances opportunities for golfers around the globe.”
Competing head-to-head on a level playing field
Grant Thornton CEO Seth Siegel echoes this sentiment: “At Grant Thornton, we believe golf can bring people together – to be their very best, to eliminate barriers to achievement and to help build inclusive communities. That’s why we are working with the PGA TOUR and the LPGA Tour to create a tournament where the world’s best golfers, both men and women, can compete head-to-head on a level playing field. We know that players and fans alike will enjoy this singular event and what it represents for sports and society.”
“PGA TOUR athletes playing alongside the best athletes from the LPGA Tour is going to be incredible for our fans,” said Tony Finau. “They’ve been wanting something like this for a long time.”
“The Grant Thornton Invitational really is about being inclusive and showing people that golf can be accessible for everyone, no matter what way you play,” said Nelly Korda.
The Grant Thornton Invitational will support a variety of worthy charities, including CureSearch for Children’s Cancer, while QBE Insurance, Franklin Templeton Investments and The Naples Convention & Visitors Bureau have committed to support the Southwest Florida tournament in a meaningful way. Tiburón Golf Club and The Ritz-Carlton Naples, Tiburón will continue to host the LPGA Tour’s season-ending CME Group Tour Championship, which returns November 16-19, 2023, with Lydia Ko as defending champion.
For more information visit GrantThorntonInvitational.com