PGA Tour and LPGA Tour players are set to walk the fairways together in a new $4 million mixed-team Challenge Season event this December sponsored by Grant Thornton LLP.
The Grant Thornton Invitational will debut at Tiburón Golf Club and The Ritz-Carlton Naples, Tiburón from December 4-10, 2023. The 32-player field will be comprised of 16 professionals from the PGA Tour and LPGA Tour which will see players compete for equal prize money 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.
The three-day event will be televised on NBC and Golf Channel with additional format details to be announced.
Previously, the likes of Lexi Thompson and Nelly Korda have taken part in the QBE Shootout on the PGA Tour while Korda has also been a regular alongside Annika Sorenstam at the exhibition style PNC Championship.
“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.”
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.”
Grant Thornton, which is an Official Marketing Partner of the PGA TOUR, currently sponsors a roster of golf ambassadors who are leading change both on and off the course. They include sportscaster Michael Wilbon and professional golfers Tony Finau, Rickie Fowler, sisters Nelly and Jessica Korda, Mel Reid, and Cameron Champ, whose Mack Champ Invitational tournament hosts the game’s best junior golfers of diverse backgrounds. The firm also operates an initiative to help Historically Black Colleges and Universities grow the game of golf and create new opportunities for student athletes. It currently supports golf programs at Alabama State, North Carolina A&T, North Carolina Central, Prairie View A&M, Tennessee State and Texas Southern.
“PGA TOUR athletes playing alongside the best athletes from the LPGA Tour is going to be incredible for our fans,” said Tony Finau, PGA TOUR professional golfer. “They’ve been wanting something like this for a long time. Our fans deserve it and seeing Grant Thornton stepping up to help the PGA TOUR and LPGA Tour put together this tournament, I think is very special.”
“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, LPGA Tour professional golfer. “This is going to be the perfect opportunity for me to do something important in helping to grow the game and inspire the next generation.
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.
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