Members of The Legends Tour have played golf longer than many members of the Symetra Tour have been alive, but the veterans are looking forward to competing alongside the young pros in this year’s third annual Chico’s Patty Berg Memorial. The tournament combines simultaneous events at Cypress Lake Country Club in Fort Myers, Fla., for the legends of women’s golf with the Symetra Tour during the week of April 11-17.
“I played last year and I thought it was awesome,” said Legends Tour member Jane Geddes, winner of 11 LPGA titles, including the 1986 U.S. Women’s Open.
“I spent some of my time on the course speaking with the players and then also chatted with them after the round,” added Geddes. “Any time young players can get closer with players who have been successful is a great benefit.”
Legends Tour member Wendy Doolan, who now teaches golf at Grasslands Country Club in Lakeland, Fla., said she was impressed by the skill level on the Symetra Tour at last year’s event. Doolan recalls playing LPGA practice rounds with tour veterans when she began her own professional career in 1996 to watch how the more experienced players approached the game.
“I think this tournament is an important opportunity for the young pros to be able to ask questions from people who have done what they intend to do,” said Doolan, who has three LPGA wins, including the 2004 Evian Masters. “They all work hard and it’s a lot more serious out there now.”
But Doolan noted that even with well-honed swings, and good coaching, nutrition and fitness, one aspect a lot of young pros are still learning is how to simplify the competitive game. “What a lot of them are still learning is that you don’t always shoot five under par, but that you can still make birdies and pars and play well,” Doolan added. “They have to learn to get over the stress and tension of trying to be perfect.”
Just as Symetra Tour pros currently have an opportunity to learn how to travel and compete, Geddes and Doolan both took their first professional swings on the Futures Tour, which preceded the Symetra Tour. Legends Tour player Michelle McGann, however, went from high school to the LPGA Tour without the benefit of a preparatory tour.
“What a great opportunity for these young pros to learn and grow and what a great stepping stone this tour is for them to move on to the LPGA,” said McGann, who won seven LPGA tournaments.
Impressed by the skill level and talent of Symetra Tour players following last year’s event, all three Legends Tour members admitted they have a special “relief” when watching the next generation compete.
“It helps grow the game and maybe competing with us in this event helps give them some insight,” McGann said. “If we can help provide answers to questions as they start their careers, it’s good for them and good for the LPGA.”
“Through the Symetra Tour, they can get a jumpstart to reach the LPGA,” said Doolan. “That’s a huge carrot to play for.”
Geddes added, “I know that I was extremely impressed with their play and it certainly gave me great hope for the future of women’s golf.”
Competing for separate purses, the Symetra Tour’s 72-hole event will begin play on Thursday, April 14 and run through Sunday, April 17, with a 36-hole cut to the low 60 scores and ties from a field of 156 players. The Legends Tour 36-hole tournament, featuring a field of 30 players age 45 and over, will begin on Saturday, April 16 and conclude simultaneously with the Symetra Tour event on Sunday, April 17. One Legends Tour player will compete in each pairing on the weekend alongside two Symetra Tour members.
Golisano Children’s Hospital of Southwest Florida will be the beneficiary of the Chico’s Patty Berg Memorial. All tournament proceeds will benefit the local Fort Myers hospital.
For more information, visit www.thelegendstour.com.
About The Legends Tour
The Legends Tour is the official senior tour of the LPGA. The tour began in 2000 by LPGA professionals to showcase the talents of some of the greatest women’s golfers of all time. The Legends Tour has more than 120 members, including 14 LPGA and World Golf Hall of Fame members. Legends Tour players have over 750 combined LPGA Tour victories, including 84 major championships. In its 16th season, The Legends Tour has awarded more than $13 million in prize money and helped raise over $17 million for charity. The Legends Tour has hosted events in Arizona, Connecticut, Florida, Georgia, Hawaii, Indiana, Iowa, Maine, Mississippi, Massachusetts, Michigan, New Hampshire, New Jersey, Tennessee, Wisconsin, Japan and Australia. For additional information on The Legends Tour, log on to www.thelegendstour.com.
Contact: Sue Fracker, firstname.lastname@example.org and 617-513-4716.