by T.J. Auclair, PGA.com
Sahalee Country Club in Sammamish, Wash. has been named the site of the 2016 KPMG Women’s PGA Championship, marking the first time this major championship will be played in the Pacific Northwest.
The Championship, to be contested June 9-12, 2016, is a collaboration between the PGA of America, LPGA and KPMG, and focuses on the development, advancement and empowerment of women on and off the golf course.
Sahalee, site of the 1998 PGA Championship, 2002 WGC-NEC Invitational and the 2010 U.S. Senior Open, becomes the second Washington state site to host a U.S. women’s major, following the inaugural U.S. Women’s Open in 1946, in Spokane.
“I think it’s absolutely great for the region, obviously,” said Sahalee Country Club President Steve Oaks. “For our club, we couldn’t be more thrilled. To have the opportunity to host another major — and further our partnership with the PGA — is something we’re very excited about. The partnership with KPMG and the PGA is, I think, really innovative with what they’re doing with the tournament and combining that with the Women’s Leadership Summit. We’re very excited and eager.”
The KPMG Women’s PGA Championship, broadcast in partnership with NBC and Golf Channel, brings together a world-class, annual major golf championship with a women’s leadership summit and an ongoing charitable initiative to inspire and develop new generations of female leaders.
The KPMG Women’s PGA Championship field of 156 will include the top eight finishers from the previous year’s LPGA Teaching & Club Professional National Championship, including PGA of America women members if they rank among the eight positions.
“One of the key pieces of our collaboration with KPMG and the PGA of America was the commitment to bringing this Championship to world-class venues, and Sahalee Country Club will provide a great major championship test for our players,” said LPGA Commissioner Michael Whan. “The Pacific Northwest has always been a strong supporter of the LPGA and we are excited to bring the Tour back to Seattle for the first time since 1999.”
Designed by Ted Robinson in 1969 and renovated by Rees Jones in 1996, Sahalee takes its name from the Chinook phrase, “High Heavenly Ground.” The par-72 layout was carved out of the tall majestic Cedar and Douglas Fir native to the Pacific Northwest and is consistently ranked among America’s greatest courses. It will play to 6,692 yards in the 2016 KPMG Women’s PGA Championship.
The LPGA Championship began in 1955, five years after the birth of the Ladies Professional Golf Association. Past champions include legendary players Mickey Wright, Betsy Rawls, Kathy Whitworth, Nancy Lopez, Juli Inkster, Annika Sorenstam, Se Ri Pak and Inbee Park.
Oaks explained that the idea for getting the KPMG Women’s PGA Championship out to Sahalee for 2016 had a lot to do with perfect timing.
KPMG had a private event at the course in April of this year that may have planted the seed. A month later, PGA CEO Pete Bevacqua paid the course a visit and that’s when the wheels went in motion.
“Pete laid out his vision of what he was trying to accomplish and he’s pretty infectious,” Oaks said. “It was a great opportunity for us to partner with the PGA and host another major. We just jumped on it. We were very excited.”