The LPGA Legends Tour announced a new
Florida venue today for its 2015 ISPS Handa Cup. Palm-Aire Country Club
will host this year’s international team competition in Greater
The 10th annual ISPS Handa Cup will be staged Nov. 12-14, on
Florida’s west coast for the first time. This year’s event marks the
third return to the Sunshine State in Handa Cup history and will attract
golf fans from Sarasota and Manatee Counties.
“We are thrilled to bring the most
prestigious and longest-running tournament on the Legends Tour to the
Sarasota area and in particular, to Palm-Aire Country Club,” said Jane
Blalock, CEO of the Legends Tour. “The ISPS Handa Cup will showcase some
of the greatest names in the history of women’s golf -- names that
Sarasota golf fans will recognize – as well as legendary players
competing on one of the area’s finest courses.”
The event will once again feature team
competition between 12 U.S.-born LPGA Legends and 12 internationally
born LPGA Legends. The sides will face off in two days of stroke-play
competition. Team USA, captained by Nancy Lopez and led by fellow Hall
of Fame members Juli Inkster and Beth Daniel, won the 2014 event and
regained the trophy at Old Waverly Golf Club in West Point, Miss. The
World Team, captained by Sally Little won its first-ever Handa Cup in
2013 at The Hermitage Golf Club in Nashville, Tenn.
“I love the Handa Cup,” said Lopez. “When
you represent your country in a competition, it feels that much more
special to win – and we beat a really good World Team last year.” In
addition to Lopez, Inkster and Daniel, Legends who have appeared in the
ISPS Handa Cup for the American side include LPGA Hall of Fame members
Pat Bradley, Patty Sheehan and LPGA Tour standouts Rosie Jones and Meg
Mallon. Florida residents Laurie Rinker, Nancy Scranton and Barb Mucha
have also played on Team USA.
World Team Legends have included soon-to-be LPGA Hall of Fame member
Laura Davies and her fellow Great Britain natives Alison Nicholas and
Trish Johnson, Lorie Kane and Dawn-Coe Jones of Canada, as well as
Australia’s Jan Stephenson, Liselotte Neumann and Helen Alfredsson of
Sweden, and South Africa’s Sally Little.
Players for the 2015 Teams will be announced later this year, but Lopez
will return as captain for the U.S. side. Sally Little also will return
as captain of the World Team.
“We are pleased and honored to host this premier professional women’s
golf event,” said Ed Kornberger, Palm-Aire Country Club Board President.
“With the ISPS Handa Cup and the caliber of golfers it features – the
greatest players from the history of the LPGA Tour -- we are building on
the tradition of competitive golf we’ve established here at Palm-Aire.
This is a tremendous opportunity for our club and its members, and we
look forward to welcoming the LPGA Legends to Sarasota.”
The legendary Dick Wilson -- architect of 60 courses, including Bay Hill
Club and Lodge in Orlando, Fla., and the TPC Blue Monster at Doral in
Miami -- designed Palm-Aire in the 1950s. Palm-Aire Country Club was
originally named The Desoto Lakes Golf Club and Lodge. The club hosted
many professional events over the years, with the LPGA’s Louise Suggs
and the PGA’s Sam Snead winning tour titles at Palm-Aire in the 1960s.
The inaugural ISPS Handa Cup was played in 2006, at the World Golf
Village in St. Augustine, Fla. It moved to Portsmouth, N.H., in 2010,
where it was staged at Wentworth By The Sea Country Club for two years.
The event returned to Florida in 2012, where it was hosted by Reunion
Resort in Orlando, before moving in 2013 to Nashville, Tenn., where the
World Team won for the first time. Team USA is the defending champion
this year after reclaiming the 2014 Cup in Mississippi.
ISPS (International Sports Promotion Society) and Dr. Haruhisa Handa, a
Japanese businessman with a passion for golf and for supporting
charitable initiatives “in the spirit of the game,” will serve as the
title sponsor the event. Dr. Handa has designated The Clinton Foundation
as an official charity partner. Kornberger and local tournament
organizers at Palm-Aire also plan to choose a local charity partner.
Details will be announced at a later date.