Top-tier professional golf is returning to Greater Cincinnati in 2022 with the inaugural Kroger Queen City Championship presented by P&G, a Ladies Professional Golf Association event to be contested at the recently renovated Kenwood Country Club.
Scheduled for Sept. 5-11, 2022, this will be the fourth national-level tournament hosted at Kenwood – 1933 U.S. Amateur, PGA Tour’s 1954 Western Open and 1963 Women’s U.S. Open.
The purse for the event will be $1.75 million; the LPGA Tour paid out a record $76.45 million in purses for the 2021 season.
The decision to bring the LPGA back to Greater Cincinnati was because of its passion for sports, the partnerships with Kroger/P&G and the momentum behind women’s sports, LPGA Tour commissioner Mollie Marcoux Samaan said, which she described as a “no-brainer.”
“The support of Kroger and P&G – like-minded companies, similar values – that’s what we look for,” Samaan said. “Companies that understand the value of sports, the value of women’s sports and providing, empowering and inspiring leadership.”
Samaan described the “three Ps” – people, players and partners – as the key to success for the tour in continuing to grow its audience and influence around the game of golf. The partners – Kroger and P&G – will hosted a leadership summit for women ahead of the tournament as part of its goal to have a greater impact on the community.
Mandy Rassi, vice president of marketing for Kroger, said the LPGA, Kroger and P&G all shared the same goals of women’s empowerment and gender equality in the communities where they operate.
“Thirty years is too long,” Rassi said of the LPGA’s absence from the community. “We’re excited to play a role in bringing (the LPGA) back. An important piece is the women’s leadership summit that will really allow us to invest in diverse female in the community across both of our companies to really make a difference … to grow the female talent that exists in the community.”
The LPGA Tour last competed here in 1989 when Nancy Lopez claimed the LPGA Championship (one of the tour’s five majors, which is now the KPMG Women’s PGA Championship) at the Grizzly Course at the City of Mason Golf Center, formerly the Jack Nicklaus Golf Center at Kings Island.
“I kept thinking ‘gosh, this would be really great,’” Lopez said of the tour returning to Greater Cincinnati. “Cincinnati was one of my favorite towns – playing in the LPGA Championship, living at King’s Island. There were) just a lot of positive things here.”
The 48-time winner on the LPGA Tour mentioned friends with whom she still connects in Cincinnati. The city, she said, still has a special place in her heart.
One of the players responsible for growing the game to where it is today, Lopez said while the women’s game was trying to grow during her rookie season in 1978, she continues to promote the tour because she wants to continue to see it grow.
“I always say it’s my tour,” Lopez said. “It’s still my tour.”
The Symetra Tour, the LPGA’s developmental tour, has competed in the region for more than a decade and has hosted its Prasco Charity Championship at TPC River’s Bend since 2018.
Eleven-time LPGA winner Lexi Thompson also was at Kenwood for the announcement. Fresh off her appearance in the Solheim Cup at Inverness in Toledo, Thompson stressed the impact LPGA players have in the community.
“We want to be role models and pave the way for the younger generation,” the 26-year-old Thompson said. “It’s important to have the leadership skills. … We want to continue to grow the game and leave it in a better spot than when I came in.”
Ahead of the Queen City Championship, the USGA’s U.S. Senior Women’s Open will be contested at NCR Country Club from Aug. 25-28, 2022.