BY JONATHAN VAN DYKE
For first time in many years, San Diego residents will get to enjoy a top level women’s golf competition when Torrey Pines Golf Course hosts the 2009 Samsung World Championship Sept. 16-20.
“It’s huge in that there hasn’t been an LPGA event in this area for at least 15 years,” said Jon Maddern, deputy director of golf in San Diego.
The end-of-the-season tournament will boast a narrow field of 20 of the best female golfers in the world - including the last four LPGA major winners, the top name on the money list and last year’s Samsung World Championship winner.
“They wanted a world renowned location to host that at,” Maddern said. “A big reason the city looked at it is the fact that it will hopefully promote the women’s side of sport more.”
This year’s tagline for the even is “20 winners, one champion” and rightfully so. The field will include California native Paula Creamer who won last year’s tournament, two-time major winner Lorena Ochoa and tour veteran Juli Inskter
“She’s (Inkster) in her late 40s and will be playing against these 20 year olds, and she’s hanging in there,” Tournament Director Torrey Gane said about the seven-time major title winner.
For Gane and her colleagues, choosing Torrey Pines - especially after the excitement of last years men’s U.S. Open - was easy.
“We know that San Diego is a big golfing community and we’re hoping everyone comes out and sees some of the best golfers in the world,” Gane said. “Why not Torrey Pines? Who wouldn’t want to be here?”
With such a shortened and prestigious field, the competition is expected to be fierce.
“I think the players really look forward to the event and it does come at the end of the year so we do get good participation,” Gane added. “We do think of ourselves as that fifth major, especially being televised on NBC.”
The event kicks off on that Wednesday with the Pro-Am, where the week’s only free event allows fans to get up close and personal with the athletes.
“You can bring your cameras and take pictures of the pros,” Gane said. “It’s a fun day to really get the personality of the players.”
For the city of San Diego and Torrey Pines’ South Course, officials hope the beautiful vistas will only further a booming sport.
“Playing in Torrey and seeing how these ladies will play at a championship golf course, it should promote their game even more,” Maddern said. “It’s going to be a world class event and I think it will make the city proud. It’s going to be exciting to see it happen.”
If you go
What: Samsung World Championship
Who: 20 of the top LPGA players in the world, including the last four major winners.
Where: Torrey Pines Golf Course (south course)
11480 N. Torrey Pines Road
La Jolla, CA 92037
Wednesday Pro-Am: 9 a.m.
Thursday Round 1: 11:30 a.m. to 5:30 p.m.
Friday Round 2: 11:30 a.m. to 5:30 p.m.
Saturday Round 3: 7 a.m. to 1 p.m.
Sunday Final Round: 9 a.m. to 3 p.m.
5-day pass: $83 (bought in advance)
First two rounds: $24 (in advance) or $29 (day of play)
Second two rounds: $29 (in advance) or $34 (day of play)