New Delhi: The Hero Women`s Professional Golf Tour has increased the prize money by 66 per cent and also thrown open the domestic competition to international golfers.
From this season, WGAI (Women`s Golf Association of India) will align itself to international calendars and thus, 2012 season that begins in August, will conclude in December. But within this period it will have 12 events.
The opening event of the season will be treated like a `Major` on the domestic circuit and the event scheduled to be held at the KGA Bangalore will carry a purse of Rs 10 lakh.
This will be followed by nine events with purses of Rs five lakh each.
The Hero Women`s Indian Open will follow that and the season will end with a second `Major` to be played for Rs 10 lakh on matchplay format and the season-ending event will have another Rs five lakh.
"The growth of prize money from the erstwhile Rs 42 lakh to Rs 70 lakh for 2012 is a huge leap forward and opening the events to limited international participation will also give our girls a taste of tough competition," said Champika Sayal, Secretary General of the WGAI.
Keeping in mind the fact that from 2016 onwards golf will be an Olympic discipline, Champika said, "All established Olympic aspirants who are a part of the World
Professional or Amateur Rankings should be given playing courtesy access to all golf courses across India regardless of the strata of the society they belong to."
The enhanced prize money will make it worthwhile for the Indian women professionals to make a good living, added WGAI officials.
The winner of the first Major event in KGA will get Rs 2.30 lakh and the prize money will be given to the top 16 finishers in the 54-hole, three round event.
The field for each event will comprise 16 Indian professionals, eight sponsor exemptions including internationals and six amateurs. These will include a maximum of eight professionals, who will be allowed on a first-come-first-serve basis.
Another highlight of the Tour will be that entries from the Hero Women's Indian Tour for the Hero Women's Indian Open will be chosen from the Indian Order of Merit and the players will need to play a minimum of six events to qualify for a ranking on the Merit list.