Imminent became reality just before Christmas.

The LPGA Tour has officially announced that its Drive On Championship will take place at the Crown Colony Golf Club from February 3-5.

The 120-player tournament will not sell tickets and have no fans in addition to members of the Crown Colony. There will also be no pro-am as is typically the case at many LPGA Tour events. And it will also only air on Golf Channel or NBC’s Peacock service, and will not be televised.

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But the best female golfers in the world will play Fort Myers for the first time in 47 years.

“We’re excited to kick off our 2022 LPGA Tour season with three consecutive events in Florida, with the opening swing ending in Fort Myers in a dignified setting like the Crown Colony Golf & Country Club,” said Ricki Lasky, responsible for LPGA tournaments. Officer in a press release. “We are thrilled to continue our LPGA Drive On Championship in a familiar location like Southwest Florida, and thank our partners at Crown Colony for providing a fantastic welcome venue to introduce our players.”

The News-Press and the Naples Daily News reported the likelihood of the event occurring in Fort Myers on December 14.

Since then, Crown Colony chief executive David Kent, who called the tournament “imminent” at the time, had been back and forth with the LPGA Tour to secure the deal. There will be a $ 1.5 million scholarship.

“We are very grateful to partners like those of the Crown Colony Golf & Country Club for welcoming us as we continue the spirit of the LPGA Drive On Championship events in Fort Myers,” said Mollie Marcoux Samaan, Commissioner of the LPGA, in the press release. “We will have another amazing week on tour with player initiatives that will support our members in different ways for the season ahead.”

The tournament took place in Ocala last March and was won by Austin Ernst.

The CME Group Tour Championship has been played in Naples since 2012 and at the Tiburón Golf Club at the Ritz-Carlton Golf Resort since 2013. Jin Young Ko won the tournament on November 21, taking home a check for $ 1.5 million for first place. .

From February 3 to 5, it’s Thursday to Saturday, with the final round not being played on the usual Sunday. There will be a qualifier on Monday January 31, but only practice rounds on the following two days. The peloton will be reduced to the first 70 and tied for the final round.

The Fort Myers tournament takes place the week following the Gainbridge LPGA at Boca Rio in Boca Raton. It also creates a three-tournament swing, with the tour opening its 2022 season with the Hilton Grand Vacations Tournament of Champions in Orlando from January 20-23.

The last LPGA Tour event played in Fort Myers was the Greater Fort Myers Classic in 1974 and 1975, at Lochmoor Country Club. Bonnie Bryant, a southpaw, won in 1974, and Sandra Haynie won the playoffs against Pat Bradley in 1975. Coincidentally, Haynie also won the Naples Lely LPGA Classic the same year.

“On behalf of the Board of Governors, Members and Staff, I am delighted that Crown Colony has the privilege of hosting the 2022 LPGA Drive On Championship featuring 120 of the world’s top female golfers,” Kent said in the statement. “This is a wonderful opportunity to showcase our exceptional golf club while enjoying competition at the highest level. We welcome the LPGA Tour to Fort Myers for the first time in 47 years with open arms and look forward to the Championship. “

Greg Hardwig is a sports reporter for the Naples Daily News and The News-Press. Follow him on Instagram, Facebook and Twitter: @NDN_Ghardwig, email him at [email protected] Support local journalism with this special subscription offer at https://cm.naplesnews.com/specialoffer/