The LPGA season kicks off this week at the Hilton Grand Vacation Tournament of Champions and locker room talk will likely be kept to a minimum this time.
Last year, LPGA players and female celebrities began the week without lockers after a storm damaged the permanent lockers that are usually in place in the women’s locker room at Lake Nona Golf & Country Club in Orlando.
The tournament planned to order temporary lockers to place on the second level of the clubhouse next to player dining, though that area did not include bathrooms. LPGA officials canceled the lockers, opting to use that space for other player uses.
On Wednesday of tournament week, after a couple of players publicly voiced concerns, 36 temporary lockers were delivered to the course.
Even with the temporary lockers, however, the locker room area was not designated as players-only – and therefore not private and secure – as it was also utilized by sponsor VIPs and tournament staff.
This year, tournament officials say LPGA players and celebrities will each have a designated locker inside the clubhouse for the Jan. 18-21 event, though the area will once again by utilized VIPs and staff.
“Similar to other LPGA tournaments, select tournament sponsors and staff will also have access to the clubhouse and this includes the restroom facilities within the locker rooms,” Aaron Stewart, VP of sports marketing at Hilton Grand Vacations, said in a statement.
“LPGA players and female celebrities will also have private restroom facilities for players-only in the upstairs area of the clubhouse adjacent to their player-only dining room. We have worked closely with the LPGA to ensure all appropriate security and access policies are followed.”
When asked how many LPGA events have locker room areas that are open to non-players, the tour said in a statement that “each LPGA Tour tournament has unique clubhouse setups, configurations, and access rules based on a variety of factors.
“Most importantly, every event has security in place throughout the venue, including at the locker room entrance, to ensure the safety and well-being of our athletes.”
LPGA winners from the past two seasons are invited to compete for a $1.5 million purse at the TOC, while a field of celebrities vie for $500,000.
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