THE PLAYERS – One hundred eight (108) golfers will compete in the fifth annual Pure Silk-Bahamas LPGA Classic. The field is headed by Rolex World Rankings No. 2 Ariya Jutanugarn, the 2016 Rolex Player of the Year, and No. 5 Lexi Thompson, plus defending champion Hyo Joo Kim and past winners Sei Young Kim, Jessica Korda and Ilhee Lee. Four of the top 10 players in the current Rolex Women’s World Golf Rankings are entered as well as 10 of the top 20 on the 2016 LPGA Money List.
AT STAKE – The Pure Silk-Bahamas LPGA Classic offers a purse of $1.4 million, plus a full allocation of points in the Race to the CME Globe season-long competition. The winner receives $210,000 and 500 CME Globe points.
LOCATION – The Tom Weiskopf-designed Ocean Club Golf Course is located on the eastern end of Paradise Island in Nassau, Bahamas.
FORMAT AND SCHEDULE OF PLAY – Eighteen holes of stroke play are scheduled on each of four days – Thursday, Jan. 26 through Sunday, Jan. 29.
TELEVISION COVERAGE – The Pure Silk-Bahamas Classic will receive 10 hours of live coverage on the Golf Channel. The television schedule (EST):
Thursday, January 26 – 11:30 AM-2:30 PM
Friday, January 27 – 11:30 AM-2:30 PM
Saturday, January 28 – 3:00 PM-5:00 PM
Sunday, January 29 – 3:00 PM-5:00 PM
INTERNET COVERAGE – Follow the Pure Silk-Bahamas LPGA Classic at www.puresilkbahamasclassic.com or LPGA.com.
LAST YEAR – Hyo Joo Kim, 20, of South Korea, broke a 10-month winless drought with a two-stroke victory over Stacy Lewis, Anna Nordqvist and defending champion Sei Young Kim. Hyo Joo Kim shot a closing 7-under-par 66 to complete 72 holes in 18-under 274.
MAJOR WINNERS IN THE FIELD – There are 13 major championship winners in the field for the Pure Silk-Bahamas LPGA Classic with a total of 25 major titles:
Paula Creamer (1) – 2010 U.S. Women’s Open
Brooke Henderson (1) – KPMG Women’s PGA Championship
Juli Inkster (7) – 1984 Nabisco Dinah Shore, 1984 Du Maurier Classic, 1989 Nabisco Dinah Shore, 1999 U.S. Women’s Open, 1999 McDonald’s LPGA Championship, 2000 LPGA Championship, 2002 U.S. Women’s Open
Ariya Jutanugarn (1) – RICOH Women’s British Open
Hyo Joo Kim (1) – 2014 Evian Championship
Brittany Lang (1) – U.S. Women’s Open
Stacy Lewis (2) – 2011 Kraft Nabisco Championship, 2013 RICOH Women’s British Open
Brittany Lincicome (2) – 2009 Kraft Nabisco Championship, 2015 Kraft Nabisco
Mo Martin (1) – 2014 RICOH Women’s British Open
Morgan Pressel (1) – 2007 Kraft Nabisco Championship
Lexi Thompson (1) – 2014 Kraft Nabisco Championship
Yani Tseng (5) – 2008 McDonald’s LPGA Championship, 2010 Kraft Nabisco Championship, 2010 Ricoh Women’s British Open, 2011 Wegman’s LPGA Championship, 2011 Ricoh Women’s British Open
Michelle Wie (1) – 2014 U.S. Women’s Open
2016 LPGA TOUR WINNERS – The Pure Silk-Bahamas Classic is the first of 35 events on the LPGA Tour in 2017. There are 7 champions from the 2016 LPGA schedule who are entered in the tournament at Ocean Club:
Brooke Henderson – Cambia Portland Classic, KPMG Women’s PGA Championship
Charley Hull – CME Group Tour Championship
Ariya Jutanugarn – Kingsmill Championship Presented by JTBC, RICOH Women’s British Open, Canadian Pacific Women’s Open
Hyo Joo Kim – Pure Silk-Bahamas LPGA Classic
Sei Young Kim – Bank of Hope Founders Cup, Meijer LPGA Classic for Simply Give
Brittany Lang – U.S. Women’s Open
Lexi Thompson – Honda LPGA Thailand
PAR AND YARDAGE – The Ocean Club Golf Course, Paradise Island, will be set up at 6,625 yards and will play to a par of 36-37–73.
HOLE BY HOLE –
OCEAN CLUB GOLF COURSE – Dick Wilson designed the original layout of the Ocean Club, which opened in 1954. The course was completely redesigned in 2000 by Tom Weiskopf, who opened the layout to the scenic ocean views while infusing the course with tougher strategic features. The redesign, which included lengthening the layout to 7,159 yards, was completed in 2000 and re-opened to rave reviews. The course rating is 75.6 and its slope is 140 (compared to an average of 113).
ARCHITECT TOM WEISKOPF – Tom Weiskopf became a professional golfer in 1964 and played on the PGA TOUR from 1968-1982, winning 16 times. He also won the British Open in 1973 and later won the U.S. Senior Open in 1995. He has won 28 titles worldwide. As a golf course architect, he has more than 40 courses to his credit, many of which have received notable praise and ranking.
OCEAN CLUB TOURING PRO – World Golf Hall-of-Famer Ernie Els previously represented the Ocean Club on the PGA Tour. He still is a frequent visitor.
A FEW TOP WOMEN IN BAHAMAS GOLF – The Bahamas are part of the Caribbean Golf Federation. Players of note who have competed in the Pure Silk-Bahamas LPGA Classic:
Georgette Rolle, 30, is a two-time Bahamas National Women’s Amateur Champion (2003, 2007). An LPGA Teaching Professional, Rolle will be making her fourth appearance in the Pure-Silk Bahamas LPGA Classic. She hopes to make the cut for the first time in 2017.
Raquel Riley, a former member of the Bahamas National Team, earned an exemption into the 2015 Pure Silk-Bahamas LPGA Classic. A former winner on the Sun Coast Ladies Tour, Riley, 34, missed the cut.
VOLUNTEERS – More than 400 volunteers were recruited to serve on more than 25 committees to help stage this event.
GOLF HISTORY IN THE BAHAMAS – Golf came to the Bahamas in the 1920s and the first golf course built was the Cable Beach Golf Club, which became a getaway destination for celebrities like William Randolph Hurst, Burl Ives and Benny Goodman.
VISIONARY SOL KERZNER’S IMPACT – South African Sol Kerzner purchased the Ocean Club and many other area properties on Paradise Island in 1994 and turned them into luxury destinations. He founded Sun International Hotels, a world leader in family entertainment and gaming retreats.
GOLF EVENTS IN THE BAHAMAS – The Michael Jordan Celebrity Invitational was held at the Ocean Club from 2001 through 2010. The 2000 Office Depot Father/Son Celebrity Classic was contested at the Ocean Club. The Michael Douglas and Friends Celebrity Golf Tournament also was held at the Ocean Club. Julius Boros defeated Arnold Palmer in a Shell’s Wonderful World of Golf made-for-television match in 1967 at Cotton Bay. And the PGA TOUR conducted the Bahamas Open for two years in Freeport, with Doug Sanders winning in 1970 at Kings Inn and Golf Club and Bob Goalby winning in 1971 at Lucayan Country Club. The Hero World Challenge, hosted by Tiger Woods, was played the last two years at Albany Club. Bubba Watson won in 2015 and Hideki Matsuyama in 2016. In 2017, the Web.com Tour added two events: the Bahamas Great Exuma Classic and the Great Abaco Classic.