Long considered the biggest event in women’s golf, the US Women’s Open now has prize money and future venues to match.
The US Golf Association announced on Friday that the purse will nearly double this year to $10 million, by far the richest in women’s golf and the toughest top prizes in women’s sports.
The purse was $5.5 million when Yuka Saso won at the Olympic Club last year.
The USGA helped make this possible by bringing in a presenting sponsor – Ohio-based PreMedica, a nonprofit integrated health organization serving 28 states.
With support from ProMedica, the US Women’s Open purse plans to increase to $11 million and eventually $12 million over the next five years.
Along with a massive money boost, the USGA is sending women into some of the classic US Open models that for decades have hosted men. This list includes a return to Oakmont and Pinehurst No. 2, as well as Riviera, Oakland Hills, Merion, Inverness and Interlachen.
The USGA has said Pinehurst will host the Men’s and Women’s Open in successive weeks in 2029, just like its highly successful debut in 2014. Martin Kaymer won the US Open and Michelle Wie won her first major. at the US Women’s Open. the week.
This is the USGA’s first major initiative since former LPGA Tour commissioner Mike Whan took over as CEO last summer.
“The USGA prides itself on hosting championships that not only provide an incredible stage for athletes, but also give young players something to dream about,” Whan said. “For more than 75 years, the US Women’s Open has been the one every little girl, in every country in the world, has dreamed of winning.”
He said the partnership with ProMedica helps achieve this. The health group will also be a marketing partner of the USGA, and its “ProMedica Impact Fund” will be the official charity of the Women’s Open. The fund has pledged to raise more than $1 billion over eight years for programs to improve individual and community health.
“We will push to change the game and what it means for young women around the world to reach new heights every year,” Whan said.
The Women’s Open takes place June 2-5 at Pine Needles Lodge in North Carolina, then moves to Pebble Beach for the first time the following year. Pebble Beach was already on the program.
Pine Needles has a short but solid history in the Women’s Open, with a roster of champions that includes Annika Sorenstam, Karrie Webb and Cristie Kerr.
Only once had he been to Pinehurst – consecutive weeks in 2014 – and Pine Needles was among the venues that could be labeled as the courses where women played the Open.
The future lineup is filled with historic courses, such as Riviera and Merion, which have hosted the US Open over the years.
The announcement came two months after the LPGA Tour announced a 2022 schedule with 34 tournaments and higher prize money. The increase in the US Women’s Open brings the total prize money for the year to just over $90 million.
“It’s an exciting day for the LPGA, women’s golf and women’s sports in general,” said LPGA Commissioner Mollie Marcoux Samaan. “We commend our friends at the USGA and ProMedica for their vision and dedication to supporting the best female golfers in the world.
“With this high purse and a phenomenal roster of world-class upcoming venues, the US Women’s Open has not only cemented its place as one of the premier events on our world tour, but also as one of the premier women’s sporting events. most impactful in the world.”
Of the new sites, the most telling was Oakland Hills on the list.
The Detroit-area course recently underwent a major renovation under the direction of Gil Hanse, whose architecture firm was chosen to design Rio’s Olympic golf course for the 2016 Olympics. He is trying to win a US Open for the seventh time. Oakland Hills is where Ben Hogan “brought this monster course” to its knees when he won the Open in 1951, but he hasn’t hosted the Men’s Open since 1996.
Hogan also won in 1948 at Riviera in Los Angeles, now the site of the Genesis Invitational on the PGA Tour. It remains one of the most legendary stops on the West Coast, but was found to have insufficient room for all the infrastructure required for a men’s competition, such as the US Open.
Inverness in Toledo, Ohio recently hosted the Solheim Cup. The Women’s Open also returns to Interlachen outside of Minneapolis for the first time since Inbee Park won its first Women’s Open in 2008. It will be played in 2030, the 100th anniversary of Bobby Jones’ US Open victory. during his “impregnable quadrangle” sweep of the four greatest golf tournaments of his era.
It was not immediately clear how much the winner would receive at the US Women’s Open. Saso won slightly more than the stock market’s typical 18%, with the USGA wanting to provide the biggest win at $1 million.
Last year, the men’s US Open prize money was $12.5 million. The scholarship for this year’s event has yet to be decided.