The field for the 2023 Hilton Grand Tournament of Champions might answer some early questions about the upcoming season. Jin Young Ko, who was plagued with a serious wrist injury late last year, will make her debut in the event Jan. 19-22, while Nelly Korda looks to continue the momentum found at the end of last year.
The field of 30, however, will be missing some big names, too. After entries closed on Tuesday evening, current World No. 1 Lydia Ko was not listed in the field. Ko, who is still on her honeymoon after her Dec. 30 wedding, has a home at Lake Nona, where the event is now played. Earlier on Tuesday, the Aramco Saudi Ladies International announced that Ko was confirmed for the mid-February event, where it looks like she will begin her 2023 season.
Ko isn’t the only top player not in the field at the LPGA TOC. A pair of 2022 major winners, Minjee Lee and In Gee Chun, won’t be there. In fact, six of the top 10 players in the Rolex Rankings won’t be in Orlando later this month. Atthaya Thitifkul, last year’s Louise Suggs Rookie of the Year, didn’t sign up. Neither did No. 9 Hyo Joo Kim. Lexi Thompson, currently No. 6, didn’t qualify for the event as she hasn’t won on the LPGA since 2019.
The LPGA season wrapped up just before Thanksgiving in Naples, Florida, making it an especially short offseason for those who played in the Australian Open and PGA silly season events.
The TOC sits on an island on the LPGA schedule, with no other events in January and a full month off before the tour resumes with its Asia swing in Thailand, Singapore and China. It’s a long way for Asian and Australian players to come for one event.
The TOC’s purse of $1.5 million matches the smallest on the LPGA schedule. Jon Rahm’s $2.7 million winner’s check at the Sentry Tournament of Champions on the PGA Tour is $1.2 million more than the LPGA’s entire purse next week.
Last year’s champion Danielle Kang, Brooke Henderson and several first-time winners including major champions Ashleigh Buhai and Jennifer Kupcho are committed to the field, where celebrities compete alongside the LPGA pros for a separate purse using in a Stableford format.