EVIAN-LES-BAINS, FRANCE -- There are few spots on the far-flung global golf tour known as the LPGA that the players enjoy more than the Evian Masters. The accommodations high on the hill at the Hotel Royal and the Ermitage are luxurious, the views of Lake Geneva and the Alps are breathtaking, and the $3.2 million purse put up by Franck Riboud and his company, Danone, is rivaled only by the U.S. Women's Open.
Now there is one more reason to want to be in the field: Beginning in 2013 the Evian will be a major championship. The tour's only stop in France will join the Kraft Nabisco Championship, the U.S. Women's Open, the Wegmans LPGA Championship and the Ricoh Women's British Open in becoming the fifth major under a five-year rolling contract, it was announced Wednesday.
One of the few downsides of the Evian Masters -- which features fireworks, concerts, soccer games, an infamous beer garden, a champagne tent, quaint outdoor dining and a casino along with the views -- is the fact the Evian Golf Club is a short layout, a tick or two below being of major-championship quality. On Wednesday, Riboud and LPGA commissioner Mike Whan said that will be addressed through a $7.5 redesign by Steve Smyers that will begin immediately after this year's event ends on Sunday.