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NAPLES, Fla. — More than $100 million will be awarded to LPGA players for the first time in 2023, an increase of about 18% from what was planned for this season and more than double what was just a decade ago was paid on the tour .
And in the eyes of LPGA Commissioner Mollie Marcoux Samaan, that’s a good start.
The LPGA’s 33 official events next year will have a combined purse of $101.4 million, the tour announced at Friday’s schedule unveiling. But reaching a nine-figure total for the first time doesn’t mean the Tour has achieved its goal, said Marcoux Samaan.
“I think we’re trying to grow as much as possible,” said Marcoux Samaan. “I think it’s a milestone, not a goal. I think it just symbolizes the next evolution for the tour. But I don’t think we feel like we’re done. We feel that there is a lot more to be invested in women’s football and we are passionate about that.”
World No. 1 Nelly Korda called the $100 million milestone “amazing”.
“Women’s golf is really going in a great direction,” said Korda. “I think we see a lot of positive results every year. I would say if we get the stage we prove that we are exciting and that we are fun to watch. … Sponsors can see it and they really support us and we’re really grateful.”
The schedule has events in 11 states and 12 countries. It has two tournaments – if they take place – in China. The LPGA has not played there since October 2019, canceling each of its last five scheduled events in China in the wake of the coronavirus pandemic.
At the moment there is some hope of returning to China.
“I think we’re still waiting to hear and we’ve told the players we’ll update them, but we’ve got the contract and it’s on schedule and we’ll let them know when that happens.” developed,” said Marcoux Samaan.
The five women’s golf majors make up $37.9 million of the projected purses, led by $10 million to be paid out at next July’s US Women’s Open in Pebble Beach. This tournament is immediately preceded on the schedule by the Women’s PGA Championship in Baltrusol, a $9 million event.
That’s $19 million paid out in a span of just two events, something that was unfathomable in women’s golf just a few years ago.
The final four of the five Majors take place over an eight-week, seven-tournament span.
“I think part of that is because we’re playing at some phenomenal courses and part of those decisions were based on availability at the courses and being able to get in and play at those really important and iconic places,” Marcoux said, Samaan . “So I think the ideal charge would be more distributed.”
Official purses for this season ended up reaching about $93.5 million, mostly from increases in supply at the majors. The 2022 plan called for purses to be $85.7 million.
For now, Saudi Arabia-funded LIV Golf – which will offer $405 million for 14 men’s events in 2023 – hasn’t announced any formal plans to try to attract women’s players, although CEO Greg Norman has mentioned the possibility. The LPGA has not yet had to worry about LIV.
“A broken golf environment is not good for anyone,” said Marcoux Samaan. “It is my role as Commissioner, as the steward of this organisation, my responsibility to really listen and learn, and we are doing that and we will continue to do that. There is nothing new to report.”
Every tournament on the LPGA’s 2023 list carries at least $1.5 million in prize money, and there are only four with such small purses. There are 16 tournaments, excluding the majors, with at least $2 million in prize money, including seven of the last eight on the schedule.
Following the Solheim Cup in Spain at the end of September, the LPGA will play eight straight weeks to end their season on a bit of a frenzy. The first two stops are in Arkansas and Texas, then a four-tournament Asian swing through China, Korea, Taiwan and Japan, followed by the final two weeks in Florida — and again topped by the $7 million CME Group -Tour Championship in Naples $2 million for the winner.
The $2 million first place prize matches the prize awarded to the winner this weekend in Naples and is the largest single check in women’s golf.
“We’re a global brand, a global organization with players from all over the world spread all over the world,” said Marcoux Samaan. “And we have an extremely fast growing fan base where brands and partners can really grow their own business. So the commercial opportunity is really strong, the intrinsic opportunity is really strong and we’re extremely optimistic about where we’re going.”