ALGOMA TOWNSHIP, Mich. (WOOD) — In addition to the $1.1 million that last year’s Meijer LPGA Classic raised for regional food pantries, the 2018 tournament champ donated a third of her winnings to the cause.
So Yeon Ryu donated $100,000, saying she was moved by the mission and that encouraged her to play harder.
“When motivation gives me a really good result, I have to keep my promise,” Ryu said during Tuesday’s media day for the 2019 event at the North Kent Connect Food Pantry near Rockford. “I felt like I know about this community better and that I am well-educated about this program, so I hope I’m going to keep continuing well and continuing to help this community out.”
In its five years, the tournament has raised more than $4.2 million for Meijer’s Simply Give, which backs more than 240 food pantries throughout the Midwest. Meijer says that works out to 42 million meals.
“I think it speaks to the mission of what we are trying to do here,” Meijer President Rick Keyes said. “There are people who are hungry in our communities and So Yeon saw that and wanted to make a difference. And I think So Yeon … would be the first to tell you that she’s not the only one that’s giving back as part of this community. The hundreds of volunteers that come out to make the Meijer LPGA Classic a success, they’re giving as well.”
It takes 900 volunteers to run the tournament. Helpers are still need for this year’s event, which will be held Father’s Day weekend at Blythefield Country Club in Belmont.
Ryu is among four previous tournament champs who have signed for the sixth annual Classic, including Brooke Henderson, Lexi Thompson and Mirim Lee. Also among the 144 commits is Inbee Park, one of the best in the world, Cristie Kerr, Gaby Lopez and Morgan Pressel.