On January 26, the LPGA announced that Epson was the new title sponsor of the “Road to the LPGA”. With the new partnership came not only a new title, but also monumental changes to the financial implications for Epson Tour players.
As a player, I’ve thought about what this change means to me.
After thinking back to my years in school and on the golf course, I realized that having Epson in the game was nothing new. From elementary school to university, Epson helped me produce documents, projects and presentations that helped me move from one level to the next.
When I started, the company helped me bring my creative spirit to life. Later, it allowed me to take emotions from my heart and express them as physical words on a page. At the end of each year, Epson printed report cards that sent me to the next class.
When I graduated from college, I thought that would be the last time these printers would play such an important role in my life.
Then, a little over three weeks ago, that all changed.
Epson’s new role on the “Road to the LPGA” significantly affects the financial burden placed on LPGA Tour hopefuls. Along with title sponsorship, Epson will increase the size of scholarships, lower entry fees and offer an Epson Ambassador program for those who achieve LPGA status the following year.
On the LPGA qualifying circuit, the margins are slim. Entry fees run up to more than double the price to attend an LPGA event. Add to that a tenth of the purse sizes you find on the LPGA Tour, and a player had to finish in the top 10 to break even each week. Thanks to Epson, our entry fee will be reduced by $50 per tournament with the goal of eliminating them all together. It may seem small, but over the course of the season it’s $1,000. In a game of thumbs, one big can mean the world.
Not only will the cost of entry be reduced, but our minimum purse sizes have increased by $50,000. The French Lick Charity Classic will have the biggest purse in tour history, reaching over $300,000. From a player’s perspective, that’s huge. It could be the difference between breaking even and falling into debit.
For this we are extremely grateful.
Unlike previous years, Epson ink will not boast of my essays, presentations or newsletters. Instead, they’ll print paychecks and hopefully a card that will take me to the next level – the LPGA Tour.
Thank you, Epson, for investing in our game and in each of us. We hope to exceed your vision as we write the next chapter of the ‘Road to the LPGA’ and leave a lasting mark as players on the Epson Tour.