The best female golfers in the world will tee off in Rogers this week at the 10th Annual Walmart NW Arkansas Championship presented by P&G.
LPGA week festivities began on Monday (June 23) despite all of the rain. Golfers teed up for a qualifying round at Pinnacle Country Club. A donation ceremony at the Walmart Kids Center was also held on the course. The tournament and several of its sponsors donated a van and $50,000 to the Northwest Arkansas Children's Shelter.
"The overall mission of the tournament is to add to the quality of life in Northwest Arkansas," said Jay Allen, Tournament Chairman. "There just isn't an organization that's doing more important work in this region than they are with helping abused kids who have nowhere to go."
Veteran LPGA player Liselotte Neumann was a special guest at the event. She won thirteen times on the LPGA Tour, including the U.S. Women's Open in 1988.
"It's really special to be part of this, especially when it comes to children," Neumann said. "I think you feel extra special to be part of it, because of that."
In the midst of all of the events on Monday, volunteers were hard at work putting the finishing touches on the course. Tournament officials said setup started about a week ago, so that everything would be show ready by the first day of LPGA week.
Frank Hignite has volunteered at the Walmart Championship for nine years.
"Everything is going along real as far as getting all of the facilities put up," he said.
Hignite said spectators can expect to see many improvements from last year. That includes the addition of three new structures to the 17th hole.
"One of the structures is for public viewing along the hole, one is more of a club where you buy seats and then the other one is for hospitality," said Allen. "The typical rules of golf go right out the window. The players embrace it and interact with the fans. There's no hole like it on the LPGA Tour."
The Walmart NW Arkansas Championship presented by P&G has become a premier stop on the LPGA Tour. The first round of the tournament will begin on Friday and runs through Sunday. 144 golfers will compete for a $2 million purse.