The Symetra Tour, previously known as the LPGA Futures Tour and known for sponsorship reasons between 2006 and 2010 as the Duramed FUTURES Tour, is the official developmental golf tour of the LPGA Tour. Tour membership is open to professional women golfers and to qualified amateurs.
The Futures Tour was founded in Florida in 1981 as the "Tampa Bay Mini Tour". It officially became the Futures Golf Tour in 1983 and in 1999 become a national tour designated as the "official developmental tour" of the LPGA Tour (the U.S.-based professional women's golf tour).
The minimum age for participation was lowered to 17 prior to the 2006 season. On July 18, 2007, the LPGA announced that it had acquired the Futures Tour effective immediately, "bringing women's professional golf now under one umbrella." Previously the Futures Tour had operated as a licensee of the LPGA.
Duramed, a pharmaceutical company, was the tour's title sponsor from 2006 through the end of the 2010 season.
In 2010, the tour was known as the "LPGA Futures Tour." In 2012, Symetra, a United States-based insurance provider, became the title sponsor of the tour and tour's name was changed to "Symetra Tour".
From 1999 through 2007 the top five leading money winners at the end of each season earned full membership in the following season's LPGA Tour. Starting with the sixth-ranked player at the end of the season, ten additional Futures Tour players who are not already members of the LPGA, automatically advanced into the LPGA Final Qualifying Tournament, bypassing the sectional qualifying tournament.
Beginning in 2008 the process for promotion to the LPGA Tour was changed. The top ten leading money winners at the end of the season gain membership on the LPGA Tour for the next season, with those finishing in the top five positions gaining higher priority for entry into events than those finishing in positions six through ten. Finishers in positions sixth through ten still have the option to attend LPGA Qualifying School to try to improve their membership for the following season.
Beginning in 2011, the promotion process was changed slightly to allow the next 12 players, excluding current LPGA members, after the top ten qualifiers to automatic entry into Stage III of the LPGA Qualifying Tournament.
Players come from around the world to compete on the Symetra Tour.
Futures Tour graduates include LPGA tournament winners Laura Davies, Meaghan Francella, Cristie Kerr, Christina Kim, Mo Martin, Lorena Ochoa, Grace Park, Stacy Prammanasudh, Sherri Steinhauer, and Karrie Webb.
|Prize money (US$)|
|Year||Player of the Year||Rookie of the Year||Trainor Award||Heather Wilbur Spirit Award|
|2019||Perrine Delacour||Patty Tavatanakit|
|2018||Ruixin Liu||Linnea Ström|
|2017||Benyapa Niphatsophon||Hannah Green||Potawatomi Nation tribes||Laura Wearn|
|2016||Madelene Sagström||Madelene Sagström||John Ritenour and Valli Ritenour||Ally McDonald|
|2015||Annie Park||Annie Park||Walt Lincer||Casey Grice|
|2014||Marissa Steen||Min Lee||Mike Vadala||Min Seo Kwak|
|2013||P.K. Kongkraphan||Giulia Molinaro||Kyung Ahn Moon||Melissa Eaton|
|2012||Esther Choe||Mi Hyang Lee||Zayra Calderon||Nicole Jeray|
|2011||Kathleen Ekey||Sydnee Michaels||n/a||Izzy Beisiegel|
|2010||Cindy LaCrosse||Jennifer Song||Executive Women's Golf Association||Mo Martin|
|2009||Mina Harigae||Mina Harigae||Renee Powell||Malinda Johnson|
|2008||Vicky Hurst||Vicky Hurst||Jocelyne Bourassa||Katie Fraley|
|2007||Emily Bastel||Violeta Retamoza||Cynthia Rihm||Jenny Hansen|
|2006||Song-Hee Kim||Song-Hee Kim||Sherrin Smyers||Katie Connelly|
|2005||Seon-Hwa Lee||Sun Young Yoo||Karrie Webb||Salimah Mussani|
|2004||Jimin Kang||Aram Cho||Decatur, Illinois Women's Committees||Lindsey Wright|
|2003||Stacy Prammanasudh||Soo Young Moon||Wilma Gilliland||Heather Wilbur|
|2002||Lorena Ochoa||Lorena Ochoa||Bob Hirschman and Connie Shorb|
|2001||Beth Bauer||Beth Bauer||Diane Lewis|
|2000||Heather Zakhar||Jamie Hullett||Betty Puskar|
|1999||Grace Park||Lew Williams|
Many of the contestants on The Golf Channel's The Big Break III: Ladies Only, which aired in the Spring of 2005, played on the Futures Tour, including Danielle Amiee, who ended up being the show's overall champion. The other players from the show that played on the Futures Tour were Jan Dowling, Valeria Ochoa, runner-up Pamela Crikelair, and LPGA veteran Cindy Miller. Show co-host Stephanie Sparks played on the Futures Tour from 1996 to 1999.
The Big Break V: Hawaii, which aired in the spring of 2006, included six additional Futures Tour competitors: Dana Lacey, Ashley Prange, Kim Lewellen, Kristina Tucker, Becky Lucidi and Jeanne Cho. Prange won the competition; Cho was runner-up.
The Big Break VI: Trump National, broadcast in the fall of 2006, included six more Futures Tour players: Rachel Bailey, the individual winner of the 2002 Sunbelt Conference Championship at New Mexico State University; Bridget Dwyer, a member of the 2004 NCAA Women's Golf Championship winning team at UCLA; Ashley Gomes, the 2004 WAC Player of the Year and individual winner of the 2004 WAC Championship while at San Jose State University; Sarah Lynn Johnston, the 2004 Southern Conference Player of the Year and individual winner of the 2004 Southern Conference Championship while at Furman University; Kristy McPherson, a three-time NCAA All-American First Team selection and two-time individual winner of the SEC Championship while at The University of South Carolina; and Briana Vega, who holds North Carolina State University's scoring records for 18-holes (68) and 54-holes (216).