Just as the Symetra Tour – Road to the LPGA – entered its 40th competitive season, the COVID-19 health crisis turned into a full-blown pandemic. Interfering with countless athletic events, the global outbreak was on track to cancel the golf tour completely. Thanks to quick, careful, and dedicated planning by the Symetra Tour team, the national competition is now set to continue on a modified schedule. Including competitions sponsored by Insurance Office of America (IOA), events on the revised Symetra Tour season will run from now through November 2020 to retain as much playtime as possible.
Essential Details About the Symetra Tour
IOA’s involvement with the Symetra Tour runs deep, but the tour started years before the agency came on as a sponsor. Founded as the Tampa Bay Mini Tour, and later named the LPGA Futures Tour, the Symetra Tour is the official qualifying tour of the LPGA Tour. Sponsored by pharma company Duramed from 2006 to 2010, it was briefly known as the Duramed FUTURES Tour. The current national title sponsor for the tour, however, is insurance provider Symetra.
This national women’s golf tour aims to ready players for successful LPGA competition through multiple tournaments across the country. Competition in the Symetra Tour grows stronger each season as both qualifying amateur and professional athletes join the roster. Players that come out on top at the end of the tour enter the season’s graduating class and receive LPGA Tour cards.
While the Symetra Tour originally awarded three LPGA tour cards, it now distributes 10 cards at the end of each season to promote even more qualifying players to the LPGA. The next 12 players that rank just outside of the top 10, however, still have a shot at qualifying for the LPGA — because the Symetra Tour offers these players enrollment into the third stage of the LPGA Qualifying Tournament.
Symetra Tour Competitions Sponsored by IOA
IOA currently serves as a sponsor for three Symetra Tour events: the IOA Invitational, IOA Classic, and IOA Championship. The agency and its leadership have served as hands-on partners for each of these competitive events. In fact, IOA Co-founder John Ritenour has personally awarded Symetra Tour athletes with funds granted on behalf of the IOA Foundation.
Over years of partnership, the Symetra Tour and IOA have come together to support female athletes and create more opportunities for them to prepare for the LPGA Tour. And in 2017, IOA became the first company to title three of the tour’s tournaments. Here’s how the 2020 schedule revisions will affect each of the Symetra Tour events sponsored by IOA:
- IOA Invitational — Was initially scheduled for May 7–9 in Milton, GA, but is now currently postponed
- IOA Classic — Scheduled for September 25–27 in Longwood, FL, as originally planned
- IOA Championship — First scheduled for March 27–29 but now scheduled for August 21–23 in Beaumont, CA
A revised tournament date has not yet been announced for the IOA Invitational. However, the Symetra Tour staff and IOA continue working together to safely reschedule the event.
Rescheduled Symetra Tour Dates
Extending the competition by five weeks, the Symetra Tour team was able to rearrange the season’s schedule to keep the tournament moving. Included on the edited Symetra Tour schedule are two new tournaments, which account for a revised total of 16 tournaments — as opposed to the previous total of 20 tournaments. The Symetra Tour continues to partner with other title sponsors and secure safe tournament locations to help tie down the final dates on the tour.
Dates for the currently postponed Symetra Tour events are expected to be announced soon. Until then, John Ritenour and the IOA team will continue to support the Symetra Tour as it perseveres and preserves competition for female athletes aspiring to make it to the LPGA.