ImageJuly 19, 2007-One of the many things you can count on with Stephanie Louden, a product of the Southern Nevada Junior Golf Association Tour, a Stanford graduate and a member of the LPGA Tour executive committee, is that she keeps her word. A few months ago, in an interview about another topic, she told that there was big news ahead for the LPGA Tour, and as soon as it became official she would call to report in on the story. Today was her call, and she gave her perspective on the LPGA Tour purchasing the Duramed Futures Tour, a move that she says is "big" for the LPGA.

The news of the deal was announced officially by LPGA Tour commissioner Carolyn F. Bivens in conjunction with Zayra Calderon, president and CEO of the Duramed Futures Tour. For the last eight years, the Duramed Futures Tour has operated in a licensee role with the LPGA Tour, most notably being allowed by the LPGA the the ability to award the top five season money leaders LPGA Tour cards. As part of the purchase, Calderon will remain the leader of the Futures Tour and become a part of the LPGA Tour senior management team.

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"This really gives us an opportunity as players to move up in the ranks, and it allows us the option of playing two different tours," says Louden, ranked 76th on the 2007 LPGA Tour money list through her first 11 tournaments. "And it also allow for more sponsors to become involved with the LPGA Tour and more events throughout the year.

"We (the executive committee) were asked our opinion about this, and the players were for it. I think this is a great stepping stone, and it is a big step forward. We've been working towards this for many years, and it's finally done."

Currently the LPGA Tour organizes 35 tournaments worldwide while the Duramed Futures Tour organizes 19 events in 14 states. The acquisition will now put women's professional golf in the United States under one umbrella.

“We are absolutely delighted that we have reached an agreement for the LPGA to acquire the Duramed Futures Tour,” Bivens said in a statement. “This acquisition demonstrates our desire to fortify the LPGA as the home to the best golfers in the world, providing us with a powerful development system for women, while increasing the economic opportunities for our members, marketing opportunities for sponsors and opportunities for fans to enjoy the next generation of future LPGA stars.”

Calderon, who Louden says will be a tremendous addition to the LPGA Tour, said the following:

“The Duramed Futures Tour has strategically aligned with the LPGA to provide a seamless transition for Duramed Futures Tour players to the LPGA. This agreement solidifies what all of us have been working toward for years – a cohesive tour system for the best talent in women's golf. The LPGA Tour features the very best in the game and the Duramed Futures Tour offers talented golfers and rising stars the opportunity to prepare for a career on the LPGA.”


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