The LPGA continued its growth spurt on Friday by introducing a new event, supported by an initial sponsor on a premium course hosted by one of its best-known personalities.
The Mizuho Americas Open will take place from May 29 to June 4, 2023 in the shadow of New York City at Liberty National Golf Club in Jersey City, NJ, which has hosted the Presidents Cup and PGA Tour playoffs. The event represents Mizuho Americas’ first foray into sports sponsorship and it has funded a $2.75 million grant, making the tournament the third-wealthiest non-major on the track.
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The company has also committed to Michelle Wie West, who will serve as host of the tournament and become a brand ambassador for the financial institution.
As an added bonus, the tournament takes place at the same time as an American Junior Golf Association event, allowing 24 top amateur girls ages 12-19 to play alongside LPGA competitors during the Saturday and Sunday rounds. “When I announced my retirement from competitive golf earlier this year, my goal was to continue living by the LPGA mantra ‘Act Like a Founder’ and leave the game better than I found it,” Wie West, 32 , said in a press release. “We will be able to do just that and influence future generations of the game. I am so proud to host this groundbreaking event and partner with a company that sees the value in supporting women’s golf.”
Mizuho Worldwide, a global financial services company with total assets of $1.67 trillion, has previously sponsored the Tokyo Marathon and the Tokyo Olympic and Paralympic Games, but this is the first sports connection for the US division. It partnered with Excel Sports Management, which owns the event, and was drawn to the LPGA, at least in part, by the opportunity to “pursue a purposeful partnership that reflects our shared values of opportunity, equity and advancing the next generation of talent,” said Shuji Matsuura, Chairman and CEO of Mizuho Americas, in the release.
Mizuho is not the first to see the appeal of the female game. The new tournament gives the LPGA 32 events on its 2023 calendar with a record $93.5 million. That’s over $68.5 million in 2018. At the same time, television exposure continues to grow, with 10 events appearing on network TV this year compared to six a year ago.
“The LPGA is committed to integrating and growing all parts of the female golf ecosystem, and this event is perfectly aligned with that goal,” said LPGA Commissioner Mollie Marcoux Samaan. “From the first time we met the Mizuho and Liberty National teams, it was clear how committed they were to making this a groundbreaking event for players, staff and fans, and more generally, using the tournament as a a platform to make progress. opportunities for girls and women on and off the golf course.”
Part of the LPGA’s success in recent years has been due to more frequent play on the game’s most prized courses, from St Andrews, Pebble Beach and Baltusrol to Muirfield, Pinehurst and Congressional. Liberty National adds to the array of high-profile layouts. It also offers a social media view of New York Harbor and the Statue of Liberty, another lady who stands up for something and knows how to draw attention.
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