(Reuters) – The globe-trotting LPGA Tour will feature 34 tournaments, two more than this year, in 15 countries on its schedule for 2016 with record total prize money of $63.1 million, Commissioner Michael Whan said on Friday.
The season tees off on Paradise Island in the Bahamas from Jan. 28-31 before moving on to Ocala, Florida, then Australia, Thailand and Singapore in a whirlwind start to a season that ends with the Nov. 17-20 CME Group Tour Championship in Naples, Florida.
Fourteen new events have been added in the last five years, strengthening a tournament schedule that will also include stops in England, Brazil, France, China, Malaysia, South Korea, Japan, Canada and Mexico.
Television coverage has been significantly upped from this year and six events in 2016 will benefit from network TV broadcasting in the United States over the weekend.
“Our team’s focus has exclusively shifted from securing new events to enhancing the ones we have on the schedule,” Whan said in a statement.
“Increasing purses, number of weeks on network TV and creating more exposure for our events and players are the short-term goals we have set.”
The first women’s major of the season, the ANA Inspiration at Rancho Mirage, California, will be held from March 31-April 3.
The KPMG Women’s PGA Championship at Sammamish, Washington takes place from June 9-12, with the U.S. Women’s Open to be played at CordeValle Golf Club in San Martin, California from July 7-10.
Woburn Golf and Country Club in England will host the Women’s British Open from July 28-31 before the fifth and final major of the year, the Evian Championship, is staged in Evian-les-Bains in France from Sept. 15-18.
The 2016 LPGA Tour’s total purse of $63.1 million represents an increase of $4 million from this year.
(Reporting by Mark Lamport-Stokes in Los Angeles; Editing by Larry Fine)