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LPGA trims schedule amid economic downturn

Retief Goosen, Transitions
David Walberg/SI
Retief Goosen has won the U.S. Open twice.

"I wish this economic downturn had waited one more year," Bivens said. "I wish we had one more year. But I'm grateful we had the past three."

The average per-tournament purse of about $1.77 million remains largely unchanged.

"The LPGA Tour is definitely in a tough spot right now in terms of sponsors," said Morgan Pressel, a two-time LPGA winner. "But I don't think it's just the LPGA Tour. I think the PGA Tour is going to see some of it as well with all the financial companies that they're associated with. ... It's just a tough time right now."

Next year's LPGA Tour schedule begins in Hawaii, then heads to Thailand, Singapore and Mexico, not returning to the U.S. until the Phoenix event from March 26-29, details of which have yet to be released.

Some events shifted slots from the 2008 schedule, others changed sponsors and details are still being finalized about the Samsung World Championship, which was in Half Moon Bay, Calif., this year.

One quirk to the 2009 schedule: The U.S. Women's Open starts July 9, followed by the Evian Masters, the British Open and the Solheim Cup. So it's possible that a player who isn't qualified for those events wouldn't play between the Jamie Farr Owens Corning Classic (which ends July 5) and the Safeway Classic (which starts Aug. 28).

"Given what could have been the potential negative economic impact on our schedule, we view this as a barometer of stability, appeal and value for our players and our property," Bivens said.

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