JUST days before the start of new LPGA season, the women’s Tour was handed a mighty boost with the news of a massive increase in prize money for their US Open championship.
The United States Golf Association (USGA), the organisers of the US Women’s Open, said the purse will be nearly double to US$10mil this year from US$5.5mil played for season, making it the richest event in women’s golf.
The USGA explained that the move comes after health care system ProMedica agreed to a long-term sponsorship deal for the tournament.
The new purse eclipses the AIG British Women’s Open that offered US$5.8mil in prize money in 2021 and is expected to go up another US$1mil this year.
In a statement, USGA chief executive officer Mike Whan said: “While I’m incredibly proud of what we are announcing, I know this is just the beginning.”
There are plans to increase the prize fund to US$11mil and then US$12mil over the next five years.
The US Women’s Open is the oldest of the five women’s golf Majors. This year it will be played at Pine Needles in North Carolina from June 2 to 5, where Yuka Saso will be the defending champion. This season’s winner will take home US$1.8mil.
News of the purse increase was understandably welcomed alround, with Jessica Korda, a six-time winner on the LPGA Tour, tweeting: “Absolutely love to see it.”
Korda, along with her sister Nelly and Michelle Wie West, are in a star-studded field confirmed for the LPGA’s season-opening event in Orlando, Florida this week.
The US$$1,5mil Hilton Grand Vacations Tournament of Champions starts at Lake Nona Golf & Country Club on Thursday, will also have in it last year’s runner-up Danielle Kang, along with Brooke Henderson, Lydia Ko, Inbee Park, Ariya Jutanugarn, Anna Nordqvist and Stacy Lewis.
Following the taking over by Hilton Grand Vacations as the title sponsor, the purse has been increased by 25% to US$1.5mil.