It's the start of the 2024 LPGA Tour season. Let's take a look at the Hilton Grand Vacations Tournament of Champions
In what seems like no time at all, the 2024 LPGA Tour season is ready to begin. This week 35 of the world's best players kick start the year at Lake Nona Golf and Country Club for the Hilton Grand Vacations Tournament of Champions.
Players who won an LPGA Tour event throughout the 2022 and 2023 season automatically qualify to play and are joined by 50 celebrities from media personalities to sporting stars and everywhere in between.
The professionals take part in a 72 hole strokeplay event with no cut, whilst the celebrities and amateurs also compete over 72 holes but using a Modified Stableford scoring format:
- Double bogey – 0
- Bogey – 1
- Par – 2
- Birdie – 3
- Eagle – 5
- Hole-in-One – 8
- Albatross – 10
Golfing legend Annika Sorenstam will be amongst the celebrity field and was asked about looking to the future for women's professional golf:
"I applaud the purses. They say a lot about the commitment and sponsorships and companies that want to be associated with women's golf.
"To continue, I think TV, it would be nice to see the women on TV more consistently and bigger coverage. Same thing in print and so forth.
"It's a fraction of what other sports get, and compared to the men's sport it's just not there. That's what I would love to see. It's getting better, but continue to work. There is no doubt. Other than that, I think the women are doing a great job and the LPGA is in a good place. So let's continue to work."
Brooke Henderson back to defend her title
In the professional field, four of the top 10 in the Rolex Women’s World Golf Rankings will be in the field with Lilia Vu, Ruoning Yin, Nelly Korda and Charley Hull teeing it up with defending champion Brooke Henderson.
The defending champion is pleased to get the 2024 season underway:
"I love this event. It's so fun and unique to be able to play with the celebrities. I look forward to it every year. To come back this year and be defending champion it's definitely different and a cool feel. I'm excited to tee it up on Thursday."
Also in the field is World Number 12, Lydia Ko, who comes in after a victory to finish off what was a frustrating 2023. Ko won the Grant Thornton Invitational, the mixed team event with the PGA Tour, with Jason Day in December. The New Zealander hopes it gives her some momentum into 2024:
"It wasn't the season that I had envisioned going into 2023, but I had a really good start and really good end, and in ways I joke, oh, maybe I shouldn't have done it in the middle!
"I think all those weeks and those up and downs are what brings the results in the end. I'm hoping that that's good momentum going into this year."
There will be 10 players making their debuts at the Hilton Grand Vacations Tournament of Champions, including World Number one Vu. Another player with a first start is Rose Zhang, the American burst onto the professional scene with a win in her very first event as a professional at the Mizuho Americas Open in June 2023.
After a short off season and whilst continuing her studies at Stanford University, the 20-year-old is looking forward to the week:
"It's super exciting just to be here a Lake Nona. Last time I was here was at the Curtis Cup practice session with Captain Sarah Ingram and all my other friends.
"But to come back and see the course and have this be the kick start of my 2024 season, it's just really cool, so really excited. I don't really know what's going to happen, but I'm prepared for anything."
How can I watch this week's event?
In the UK, live coverage will be available on Sky Sports Golf but you can also tune in for free via the Sky Sports Golf YouTube channel:
To view the live leaderboard from the Hilton Grand Vacations Tournament of Champions - click here.