Symetra Tour

The Symetra Tour, previously known as the LPGA Futures Tour and known for sponsorship reasons between 2006 and 2010 as the Duramed FUTURES Tour, is the official developmental golf tour of the LPGA Tour. Tour membership is open to professional women golfers and to qualified amateurs.

HistoryEdit

The Futures Tour was founded in Florida in 1981 as the "Tampa Bay Mini Tour". It officially became the Futures Golf Tour in 1983[1] and in 1999 become a national tour designated as the "official developmental tour" of the LPGA Tour (the U.S.-based professional women's golf tour).

Grace Park, Marilyn Lovander and Audra Burks were the first players to receive automatic LPGA Tour exempt status by finishing one, two, and three on the Futures Golf Tour Money List.[1]

The minimum age for participation was lowered to 17 prior to the 2006 season.[2] On July 18, 2007, the LPGA announced that it had acquired the Futures Tour effective immediately, "bringing women's professional golf now under one umbrella." Previously the Futures Tour had operated as a licensee of the LPGA.[3]

Duramed, a pharmaceutical company, was the tour's title sponsor from 2006 through the end of the 2010 season.

In 2010, the tour was known as the "LPGA Futures Tour." In 2012, Symetra, a United States-based insurance provider, became the title sponsor of the tour and tour's name was changed to "Symetra Tour".

Promotion to LPGAEdit

1999–2007Edit

From 1999 through 2007 the top five leading money winners at the end of each season earned full membership in the following season's LPGA Tour. Starting with the sixth-ranked player at the end of the season, ten additional Futures Tour players who are not already members of the LPGA, automatically advanced into the LPGA Final Qualifying Tournament, bypassing the sectional qualifying tournament.

2008–2010Edit

Beginning in 2008 the process for promotion to the LPGA Tour was changed. The top ten leading money winners at the end of the season gain membership on the LPGA Tour for the next season, with those finishing in the top five positions gaining higher priority for entry into events than those finishing in positions six through ten. Finishers in positions sixth through ten still have the option to attend LPGA Qualifying School to try to improve their membership for the following season.[4]

2011–presentEdit

Beginning in 2011, the promotion process was changed slightly to allow the next 12 players, excluding current LPGA members, after the top ten qualifiers to automatic entry into Stage III of the LPGA Qualifying Tournament.[5]

The Symetra Tour also offers instant promotion to the LPGA for those who win three times in a single season, similar to the PGA-affiliated Korn Ferry Tour and European Tour-affiliated Challenge Tour.

PlayersEdit

Players come from around the world to compete on the Symetra Tour.

Futures Tour graduates include LPGA tournament winners Laura Davies, Meaghan Francella, Cristie Kerr, Christina Kim, Mo Martin, Lorena Ochoa, Grace Park, Stacy Prammanasudh, Sherri Steinhauer, and Karrie Webb.

Historical tour schedules and resultsEdit

Year Number of
tournaments
Total prize
money (US$)
Prize money (US$)
per tournament
2019 23 4,000,000 173,913
2018 21 2,990,000 142,381
2017 22 2,950,000[6] 134,091
2016 23 3,125,000 135,870
2015 23 2,420,000 105,217
2014 20 2,250,000 112,500
2013 15 1,625,000 108,333
2012 16 1,755,000[7] 109,688
2011 16 1,765,000[8] 110,313
2010 17 1,920,000[9] 112,941
2009 17 1,795,000[10] 105,588
2008 18 1,710,000[11] 95,000
2007 19 1,585,000[12] 83,421
2006 19 1,425,000[13] 75,000

AwardsEdit

  • The Player of the Year Award is given to the player who leads the money list at the end of the season.
  • The Gaëlle Truet Rookie of the Year Award is awarded to the player competing in her first professional season who finishes highest on the Symetra Tour money List. Truet was a Tour member who was killed in a car accident during the 2006 season. The award was renamed in her honor beginning in 2006.
  • The Trainor Award has been given each year since 1999 to an individual or group that has made a significant contribution to women's golf. It is named in honor of the Tour's founder and former president, Eloise Trainor.
  • The Heather Wilbur Spirit Award has been given each year since 2003 to a Symetra Tour player who "best exemplifies dedication, courage, perseverance, love of the game and spirit toward achieving goals as a professional golfer." It is named in memory of Heather Wilbur, a four-year Futures Tour player who died from leukemia in 2000 at age 27.
Year Player of the Year Rookie of the Year Trainor Award Heather Wilbur Spirit Award
2019   Perrine Delacour   Patty Tavatanakit  
2018   Ruixin Liu   Linnea Ström  
2017   Benyapa Niphatsophon   Hannah Green Potawatomi Nation tribes   Laura Wearn
2016   Madelene Sagström   Madelene Sagström   John Ritenour and Valli Ritenour   Ally McDonald
2015   Annie Park   Annie Park   Walt Lincer   Casey Grice
2014   Marissa Steen   Min Lee   Mike Vadala   Min Seo Kwak
2013   P.K. Kongkraphan   Giulia Molinaro   Kyung Ahn Moon   Melissa Eaton
2012   Esther Choe   Mi Hyang Lee   Zayra Calderon   Nicole Jeray
2011   Kathleen Ekey   Sydnee Michaels n/a   Izzy Beisiegel
2010   Cindy LaCrosse    Jennifer Song Executive Women's Golf Association   Mo Martin
2009   Mina Harigae   Mina Harigae   Renee Powell   Malinda Johnson
2008   Vicky Hurst   Vicky Hurst   Jocelyne Bourassa   Katie Fraley
2007   Emily Bastel   Violeta Retamoza   Cynthia Rihm   Jenny Hansen
2006   Song-Hee Kim   Song-Hee Kim   Sherrin Smyers   Katie Connelly
2005   Seon-Hwa Lee   Sun Young Yoo   Karrie Webb   Salimah Mussani
2004   Jimin Kang   Aram Cho   Decatur, Illinois Women's Committees   Lindsey Wright
2003   Stacy Prammanasudh   Soo Young Moon   Wilma Gilliland   Heather Wilbur
2002   Lorena Ochoa   Lorena Ochoa   Bob Hirschman and Connie Shorb
2001   Beth Bauer   Beth Bauer   Diane Lewis
2000   Heather Zakhar   Jamie Hullett   Betty Puskar
1999   Grace Park   Lew Williams
1998   Michelle Bell
1997   Marilyn Lovander
1996   Vickie Moran
1995   Patty Ehrhart
1994   Marilyn Lovander
1993   Nanci Bowen
1992   Jodi Figley
1991   Kim Williams
1990   Denise Baldwin
1989   Jennifer MacCurrach
1988     Jenny Lidback
1987   Laurel Kean
1986   Tammie Green
1985   Tammie Green
1984   Penny Hammel

The Big BreakEdit

Many of the contestants on The Golf Channel's The Big Break III: Ladies Only, which aired in the Spring of 2005, played on the Futures Tour, including Danielle Amiee, who ended up being the show's overall champion. The other players from the show that played on the Futures Tour were Jan Dowling, Valeria Ochoa, runner-up Pamela Crikelair, and LPGA veteran Cindy Miller. Show co-host Stephanie Sparks played on the Futures Tour from 1996 to 1999.

The Big Break V: Hawaii, which aired in the spring of 2006, included six additional Futures Tour competitors: Dana Lacey, Ashley Prange, Kim Lewellen, Kristina Tucker, Becky Lucidi and Jeanne Cho. Prange won the competition; Cho was runner-up.

The Big Break VI: Trump National, broadcast in the fall of 2006, included six more Futures Tour players: Rachel Bailey, the individual winner of the 2002 Sunbelt Conference Championship at New Mexico State University; Bridget Dwyer, a member of the 2004 NCAA Women's Golf Championship winning team at UCLA; Ashley Gomes, the 2004 WAC Player of the Year and individual winner of the 2004 WAC Championship while at San Jose State University; Sarah Lynn Johnston, the 2004 Southern Conference Player of the Year and individual winner of the 2004 Southern Conference Championship while at Furman University; Kristy McPherson, a three-time NCAA All-American First Team selection and two-time individual winner of the SEC Championship while at The University of South Carolina; and Briana Vega, who holds North Carolina State University's scoring records for 18-holes (68) and 54-holes (216).

Notes and referencesEdit

  1. ^ a b Lisa D. Mickey. "Silver Anniversary Salute: FUTURES Tour Prepares For Next 25 Years". Duramed Futures Tour. Archived from the original on 2007-04-09. Retrieved 2007-04-26.
  2. ^ "Duramed FUTURES Tour Lowers Minimum Age Requirement". Golf Business Wire. February 1, 2006. Archived from the original on March 4, 2016. Retrieved February 26, 2013.
  3. ^ "LPGA acquires Duramed FUTURES Tour". LPGA.com. 2007-07-18. Retrieved 2007-07-19.
  4. ^ "LPGA Tour Cards Award to Duramed Futures Tour Top 10". LPGA. Retrieved 2008-08-25.
  5. ^ "Ten LPGA Futures Tour Players Earn 2012 LPGA Tour Membership". LPGA. September 11, 2011. Retrieved September 12, 2011.
  6. ^ 2017 Tournament Schedule
  7. ^ 2012 Tournament Schedule Archived 2012-10-13 at the Wayback Machine
  8. ^ 2011 Tournament Schedule Archived 2011-11-25 at the Wayback Machine
  9. ^ 2010 Tournament Schedule Archived 2011-10-30 at the Wayback Machine
  10. ^ 2009 Tournament Schedule Archived 2011-10-30 at the Wayback Machine
  11. ^ 2008 Tournament Schedule Archived 2011-10-30 at the Wayback Machine
  12. ^ 2007 Tournament Schedule Archived 2011-10-30 at the Wayback Machine
  13. ^ 2006 Tournament Schedule Archived 2011-10-30 at the Wayback Machine

External linksEdit