LPGA Raises Charity Purse to $1 Million for Founders Cup
By Stephanie Wei under LPGA

Morgan Pressel signs the hat of a volunteer at the 4th annual Morgan & Friends Fight Cancer Tournament last month

The LPGA announced Friday more improvements to the inaugural RR Donnelley LPGA Founders Cup. First, the total amount donated to charity will be boosted to $1 million, with $500,000 going to LPGA-USGA Girls Golf and $500,000 going to the designated charities of the top-ten finishers. The monopoly-money purse will be decreased from the original $1.3 million to $1 million, matching the charity donation.

Several of the top players in the world, including Paula Creamer, Morgan Pressel and Cristie Kerr, expressed their reservations with the tournament format.

“To have the purse be $1.3 million and the charity not get $1.3 million because it’s imaginary money, I’m having a difficult time with that,” said Creamer last month. “I don’t understand how a sponsor or company like RR Donnelley, a $10 billion company, can’t be on board to put up prize money equal to what’s given to the charity. I don’t understand how that can happen.

“If we were able to have $1.3 million in real money sitting there, and donate it back, I would be the first one to sign up for this event.”

The pros will play for a faux purse, but they’ll be attributed with official money, world ranking points, player of the year and other award points.

Also, the Kraft Nabisco Championship, the first major of the 2011 season, will offer entry to the top-five finishers of the LPGA Founders Cup.

“I certainly could have done a better job of initially articulating the details to players and media, as that has led to some confusion about the tournament’s goals and objectives,” LPGA commissioner Mike Whan said. “We now look forward to a very unique tournament that will honor the LPGA’s founders, showcase and celebrate today’s LPGA players, and provide for the future of the game.”

No word yet from the ladies who initially raised concerns with the event.