Women’s golf world No. 1 Yani Tseng will try to bolster Japan’s earthquake and tsunami relief efforts when the inaugural LPGA Founders Cup begins today.
Some of the world’s top golfers will play for free in the 54-hole event, which pays no prize money but gives US$500,000 to LPGA Foundation youth programs and US$500,000 to designated player charities, with the winner directing US$200,000 of it to her preferred choice.
Taiwanese star Tseng won the Women’s Australian Open and ANZ Ladies Open as well as the LPGA season opener last month in Thailand.
While researching the charity she would play for in this week’s unique 54-hole event, Tseng saw the devastation in Japan and chose to support Japanese children through UNICEF programs that provide safe drinking water.
“I was touched when researching charities and I looked at the Web site of the UNICEF Tap Project,” Tseng said.
“After seeing what happened in Japan, I want to utilize UNICEF’s global expertise to provide emergency relief to those children on the ground in Japan,” she said. “I have a soft spot in my heart for children so I hope my play in Phoenix can help this great cause.”
After the winner’s top prize for charity, the runner-up claims US$100,000 and other top-10 finishers will take home lesser amounts for their causes.
South Korean Grace Park chose a foundation that fights breast cancer after her mother was diagnosed with breast cancer in January.
“It was just a shock,” Park said. “You hear of all these stories from people all over the world. Until it hits you, until it becomes so personal, it becomes your mother, you don’t really realize it.”
“What a great opportunity for me to have something personal to help the charity of my choice. It’s going to be great,” the South Korean said.
A field of 134 players at Wildfire Golf Club will include Tseng, world No. 2 Shin Ji-yai of South Korea, fifth-ranked American Cristie Kerr and 10th-ranked Karrie Webb of Australia.
Britain’s Laura Davies and US stars Morgan Pressel, Christina Kim and Paula Creamer are also in the lineup.
However, Japan’s top players, including world No. 6 Ai Miyazato, are absent in the wake of the tragedy unfolding in their homeland.
While players will collect no money, they will be credited with prize money toward the season money title and standings points toward world rankings and Player of the Year honors.