Futures Tour Releases 2010 Schedule

By: Dave Andrews

Despite rough economic times, the Duramed Futures Tour has held its own in putting together a schedule of tournaments for 2010. On Thursday the tour released the schedule for its upcoming 30th anniversary season. The official developmental tour of the LPGA announced that it will have 17 events next year, the same number of tournaments in 2009.

The tour lost only one of its events from this year, the Louisiana Pelican Classic in Lafayette, La. However, the tour picked up a new tournament to take its place. The new event, the Mexico Classic in Nuevo Vallarta, Mexico, will be the first ever held by the tour outside the United States. It will feature a $150,000 purse, the largest in the history of the tour, which is also in the process of securing title sponsors with event organizers at two of the events on the schedule.

Considering the state of the economy and the fact that its parent company, the LPGA Tour, has been losing events over the past two seasons, Futures Tour executives must be pleased that they were able to maintain the size of the schedule, while also increasing the average purse size. For the first time in the tour's history, all of the events will have purses of at least $100,000; in 2010, the average purse will be just under $113,000. Total purse money for the season is nearly 2 million dollars.

Players on the Futures Tour will be competing for individual tournament victories in the hopes of climbing their way into the top five on the money list at season's end in September. The top-five money winners earn automatic high-priority playing status on the LPGA for the ensuing season, guaranteeing entry in all so-called full-field events on the schedule. The next five finishers on the Futures Tour's season money list earn a low-priority playing status on the LPGA.

Traditionally, the Futures Tour roster is made up of recent college graduates from all over the United States. There are also players from over 30 other countries who come to the U.S. in hopes of qualifying for the LPGA. Many current stars on the LPGA, including Lorena Ochoa and Angela Stanford, began their professional careers on the Futures Tour.

The year 2010 figures to be special for the Futures Tour, according to the person who runs it. "As we look back over the past 30 years, we have made tremendous strides toward our mission of preparing the world’s best young women professional golfers for a successful career on the LPGA Tour,” said Zayra F. Calderon, CEO of the Duramed Futures Tour. “With 16 returning events and an official tournament outside the U.S., for the first time, we once again deliver a viable schedule that will enable the top talent to emerge.”

The 2010 season will begin in Winter Haven, Fla., on March 19-21 with the Florida's Natural Charity Classic and will wind up on September 3-5 in Albany, N.Y. (title sponsor to be determined).

To see the complete Duramed Futures Tour 2010 schedule, visit http://www.duramedfuturestour.com/2010DFTSchedule.pdf.

Dave Andrews is a Harvard-educated former television news reporter. He's also an avid golfer who has become a fan of the Duramed Futures Tour. His home course in Concord, N.H., is annually the site of one of the tour's events. The inspiration for Dave's 2007 novel, "Pops and Sunshine," came from meeting many of the young aspiring women golfers on that tour. Each of them has a passion, dedication and determination that he finds remarkable. His novel is a fictionalization of the dream that these young women share. To order Dave's book, visit http://popsandsunshine.com.