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LPGA Tour to have record prize money

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MIAMI, Florida -- Next year's LPGA Tour will feature record prize money of more than $54 million and the first women's major to be played at the home of golf.

A minimum of 35 events will appear on the 2007 schedule, 10 of them offering an overall purse in excess of $2 million.

The Women's British Open, the last of the year's four majors, will be staged for the first time over the famed Old Course at St. Andrews from August 2-5.

"This year has showcased an emergence of young stars and a re-emergence of dominant veterans," said LPGA commissioner Carolyn Bivens at Trump International in West Palm Beach, venue for this week's season-ending Tour Championship.

"It has been one of the most competitive and compelling seasons in the history of the LPGA," she added.

"However, with three new events in 2007, the return of the Solheim Cup and the LPGA's first-ever visit to St. Andrews, I am confident next year will be even more exciting for not only our players, but for our fans and sponsors."

Bivens added that LPGA players will compete for an average purse of $1,596,617 on the 2007 Tour, a 9.62 percent rise on this season.

The Tour Championship, won last year by Swedish world number one Annika Sorenstam, is a 32-player event that offers a first prize of $1 million, the largest in tour history. The tournament starts on Thursday.

Meanwhile, the LPGA Tour have announced plans to start testing players for drugs in 2008, leaving the game's other major tours lagging behind.

Bivens said specific details of the program would be refined over the next six to nine months in conjunction with the National Center for Drug Free Sport.

Neither the PGA Tour nor the European Tour, the biggest circuits in the men's game, have drug policies and both have come under mounting pressure to change tack.

"While the LPGA has had no evidence to date of performance-enhancing drug use by our players, we recognise the concerns regarding drug use in sport and the need to have a clear policy and programme in place," said Bivens.

"We want to take a proactive role in educating our members about nutritional and dietary supplements, while also promoting fair and equitable competition.

"Under the expert guidance of Drug Free Sport, we will work diligently to establish a policy that will focus on the protection of the health and safety of our members, and ensure that no one will have an artificially induced advantage to remain competitive."


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Sorenstam is looking to defend her Tour Championship title in Palm Beach this week.

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