FRENCH LICK - Officials with the LPGA, French Lick Resort and Bloomington-based Cook Group Inc. have officially kicked-off the inaugural Senior LPGA Championship that will take place in July at the resort's Pete Dye Course. In addition to the marquee event, the week will also feature a new Symetra Tour event, the official developmental tour of the LPGA, at the nearby Donald Ross Course. At a media event Monday attended by Lieutenant Governor Suzanne Crouch, French Lick Resort Marketing Manager Steve Rondinaro said the event has "eyeball potential" for the course and the region. The Golf Channel will be broadcasting the tournament live all three days and "we're excited to show that off to a wider audience," said Rondinaro.

Symetra Tour Chief Business Officer Mike Nichols says the French Lick Resort leaders came to the LPGA with the idea of a championship event. "They have had a great relationship with the Legends Tour," Nichols said, "it got to the point where they said 'we want to do more for these ladies who really made the LPGA Tour what it is today,'" and the 54-hole tournament was born.

Nichols says Cook Group and French Lick Resort Chairman Steve Ferguson was a driving force behind bringing the Senior LPGA and Symetra tour events to southwest Indiana. Ferguson was also instrumental in getting the late Bill Cook, Cook Group co-founder, to pay for building the construction of the now eight-year-old Pete Dye Course. Ferguson joked "it's the first time that you ever gave somebody an unlimited budget and he (Dye) exceeded it."

The Symetra Tour event at The Donald Ross Course will run July 7-9, while the inaugural Senior LPGA Championship at The Pete Dye Course will be July 10-12 and feature a $600,000 purse.

Watch Monday's event kickoff announcement here: