New Champions Tour & LPGA Events boost island golf

Greg Norman
Greg Norman

HONOLULU (HawaiiNewsNow) – Greg Norman, the most dominant figure in golf in the late 1980's through the mid 1990's, was in Honolulu Monday to announce a new event on the Champions Tour.

Several miles away the top ranked woman in the world, Yani Tseng, and others practiced in preparation for the LPGA Lotte Championship, the first top flight women's tournament to be held on Oahu since 2009.

The Pacific Links Hawaii Championship will be played at the Kapolei Golf Course September 10-16, 2012.

"The Champions Tour had nada, zero, zip in September. So from a players perspective I know I've already got a couple of emails from players saying, 'Thank you, thank you, thank you for getting this tournament here because they want to play," Norman said during the press conference to announce the Pacific Links Hawaii Championship.

It will be the second Champions tour event in Hawaii. The Mitsubishi Electric Championship is played at Hualalai on the Big Island in January.

The PGA Tour has two tournaments in Hawaii: the Hyundai tournament of Champions on Maui and the Sony Open on Oahu.

The LPGA makes its return to Hawaii when the Lotte Championship runs Wednesday through Saturday, April 18 – 21 at the Ko Olina Golf Club.

"You know we're Wednesday through Saturday, so what that means is it'll be a Sunday finish in Asia so everyone will be watching. Millions of people, and again those are people who love to come to Hawaii," said Greg Nichols, Director of Golf at Ko Olina.

"We don't really compete against anything on Wednesday night and back in the (continental United) States, in New York, you'll be seeing this 6 pm through 9pm … prime time coverage, so it works on both sides of the ocean. It's going to be exciting for us," said LPGA Commissioner Mike Whan.

The Sony, Hyundai, and Mitsubishi generate more than $50 million in visitor spending combined. Golf is a billion dollar industry in Hawaii.

The addition of the Lotte and the Pacific Links will increase visitor spending and further position Hawaii as a visitor destination as golf spreads West into China and other countries.

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