LPGA

The Ladies Professional Golf Association (LPGA) is an American organization for female professional golfers. The organization is headquartered at the LPGA International in Daytona Beach, Florida, and is best known for running the LPGA Tour, a series of weekly golf tournaments for elite female golfers from around the world.

Ladies Professional Golf Association
Current season, competition or edition:
2019 LPGA Tour
Logo introduced in October 2007[1][2]
SportGolf
Founded1950
Founder13 original LPGA players[3]
Inaugural season1950
CommissionerMichael Whan
Country United States, with events in other countries in Asia, Australia, Europe, and North America
Most titles Kathy Whitworth (88)
TV partner(s)Golf Channel
Official websiteLPGA.com

Organization and history

Other "LPGAs" exist in other countries, each with a geographical designation in its name, but the U.S. organization is the first, largest, and best known. The LPGA is also an organization for female club and teaching professionals. This is different from the PGA Tour, which runs the main professional tours in the U.S. and, since 1968, has been independent of the club and teaching professionals' organization, the PGA of America.

The LPGA also administers an annual qualifying school similar to that conducted by the PGA Tour. Depending on a golfer's finish in the final qualifying tournament, she may receive full or partial playing privileges on the LPGA Tour. In addition to the main LPGA Tour, the LPGA also owns and operates the Symetra Tour, formerly the Futures Tour, the official developmental tour of the LPGA. Top finishers at the end of each season on that tour receive playing privileges on the main LPGA Tour for the following year.

In 1996 Muffin Spencer-Devlin became the first LPGA player to come out as gay.[4]

In its 70th season in 2019, the LPGA is the oldest continuing women's professional sports organization in the United States.[5][6] It was founded in 1950 by a group of 13 golfers: Alice Bauer, Patty Berg, Bettye Danoff, Helen Dettweiler, Marlene Bauer Hagge, Helen Hicks, Opal Hill, Betty Jameson, Sally Sessions, Marilynn Smith, Shirley Spork, Louise Suggs, and Babe Zaharias.[3] The LPGA succeeded the WPGA (Women's Professional Golf Association), which was founded in 1944 but stopped its limited tour after the 1948 season and officially ceased operations in December 1949.[7]

In 2001, Jane Blalock's JBC Marketing established the Women's Senior Golf Tour, now called the Legends Tour, for women professionals aged 45 and older. This is affiliated with the LPGA, but is not owned by the LPGA.

Michael Whan became the eighth commissioner of the LPGA in October 2009, succeeding the ousted Carolyn Bivens.[6][8] Whan is a former marketing executive in the sporting goods industry.[9]

After a lawsuit filed by golfer Lana Lawless, the rules were changed in 2010 to allow transgender competitors.[10][11][12] In 2013, trans woman Bobbi Lancaster faced local scorn for attempting playing in Arizona's Cactus Tour and attempting to qualify in the LPGA Qualifying Tournament.[13]

Prize money and tournaments

In 2010, total official prize money on the LPGA Tour was $41.4 million, a decrease of over $6 million from 2009. In 2010 there were 24 official tournaments, down from 28 in 2009 and 34 in 2008. Despite the loss in total tournaments, the number of tournaments hosted outside of the United States in 2010 stayed the same, as all four lost tournaments had been hosted in the United States. By 2016, the number of tournaments had risen to 33 with a record-high total prize money in excess of $63 million. In 2019, a new record was set with total prize money amounting to $70.5 million (a rise of over $5 million in one year).[14]

International presence

In its first four decades, the LPGA Tour was dominated by American players. Sandra Post of Canada became the first player living outside the United States to gain an LPGA tour card in 1968. The non-U.S. contingent is now very large. The last time an American player topped the money list was in 1993, the last time an American led the tour in tournaments won was in 1996, and from 2000 through 2009, non-Americans won 31 of 40 major championships.

Particularly, one of the notable trends seen in the early 21st century in the LPGA is the rise and dominance of Korean golfers.[15] Se Ri Pak's early success in the LPGA sparked the boom in Korean women golfers on the LPGA Tour.[16] In 2009, there were 122 non-Americans from 27 countries on the tour, including 47 from South Korea, 14 from Sweden, 10 from Australia, eight from the United Kingdom (four from England, three from Scotland and one from Wales), seven from Canada, five from Taiwan, and four from Japan.[17]

Of the 33 events in 2006, a total of 11 were won by Koreans and only seven were won by Americans. (See 2006 LPGA Tour for more details on the 2006 season.) In 2007, Americans saw a relative resurgence, winning 12 events. For the first time since 2000, two Americans won majors (See 2007 LPGA Tour for more details on the 2007 season.) In 2008, Americans grew in dominance, winning 9 of 34 events, tied with Koreans, but no majors, one of which was won by a Mexican player, one by Taiwanese player, and the other two by teenage Korean players (See 2008 LPGA Tour for more details on the 2008 season.) In 2009, Americans won 5 of 28 official events, including one major, the Kraft Nabisco Championship while Koreans won 11 events (See 2009 LPGA Tour for more details on the 2009 season.)

LPGA Tour tournaments

Most of the LPGA Tour's events are held in the United States. In 2010, two tournaments were played in Mexico and one each in Singapore, Canada, France, England, Malaysia, South Korea, Thailand, and Japan. Unofficial events were also held in Brazil and Jamaica. In 2011, the unofficial Jamaica event was dropped and a tournament in Mexico was canceled months in advance over security concerns. The Women's British Open rotated from England to Scotland and all other countries retained their tournaments. In addition, events were added in China and Taiwan, while the biennial USA–Europe team competition, the Solheim Cup was played in Ireland. (The new event in China was postponed and ultimately canceled.)

Five of the tournaments held outside North America are co-sanctioned with other professional tours. The Ladies European Tour co-sanctions the Women's British Open, The Evian Championship in France, and the Women's Australian Open (also co-sanctioned with the ALPG Tour). The other two co-sanctioned events—the LPGA Hana Bank Championship (LPGA of Korea Tour) and Mizuno Classic (LPGA of Japan Tour)—are held during the tour's autumn swing to Asia.

The LPGA's annual major championships are:

LPGA Playoffs

Since 2006, the LPGA has played a season-ending championship tournament. Through the 2008 season, it was known as the LPGA Playoffs at The ADT; in 2009 and 2010, it was known as the LPGA Tour Championship; and in 2011, the event became the CME Group Titleholders, held in November.

From 2006 through 2008 the LPGA schedule was divided into two halves, with 15 players from each half qualifying for the Championship based on their performance. Two wild-card selections were also included for a final field of 21 players. The winner of the LPGA Tour Championship, which features three days of "playoffs" plus the final championship round, earns $1 million.

In 2009, the Tour Championship field was increased to 120 players, with entry open to all Tour members in the top 120 on the money list as of three weeks prior to the start of the tournament. The total purse was $1.5 million with $225,000 going to the winner.

The CME Group Titleholders, which resurrects the name of a former LPGA major championship (the Titleholders Championship), was first played in 2011. From 2011 to 2013, its field was made up of three qualifiers from each official tour event during the season, specifically the top three finishers not previously qualified. Beginning in 2014, the field will be determined by a season-long points race. The winner of the points race will receive a $1 million bonus.[18]

2019 LPGA Tour

Historical tour schedules and results

YearNumber of
official tournaments
Countries hosting
tournaments
Tournaments in
United States
Tournaments in
other countries
Total prize
money ($)
20183313191466,950,000
20173415171767,650,000
20163314181563,000,000
20153114171459,100,000
20143214171557,550,000
20132814141448,900,000
20122712151247,000,000
20112311131041,500,000
20102410141041,400,000
2009289181047,600,000
2008348241060,300,000
200731823854,285,000
200633825850,275,000
200532725745,100,000
200432627542,875,000
  • Official tournaments are tournaments in which earnings and scores are credited to the players' official LPGA record.

Hall of Fame

The LPGA established the Hall of Fame of Women's Golf in 1951, with four charter members: Patty Berg, Betty Jameson, Louise Suggs, and Babe Zaharias. After being inactive for several years, the Hall of Fame moved in 1967 to its first physical premises, in Augusta, Georgia, and was renamed the LPGA Tour Hall of Fame. In 1998 it merged into the World Golf Hall of Fame.

LPGA Tour awards

The LPGA Tour presents several annual awards. Three are awarded in competitive contests, based on scoring over the course of the year.

  • The Rolex Player of the Year is awarded based on a formula in which points are awarded for top-10 finishes and are doubled at the LPGA's four major championships and at the season-ending Tour Championship. The points system is: 30 points for first; 12 points for second; nine points for third; seven points for fourth; six points for fifth; five points for sixth; four points for seventh; three points for eighth; two points for ninth and one point for 10th.
  • The Vare Trophy, named for Glenna Collett-Vare, is given to the player with the lowest scoring average for the season.
  • The Louise Suggs Rolex Rookie of the Year Award is awarded to the first-year player on the LPGA Tour who scores the highest in a points competition in which points are awarded based on a player's finish in an event. The points system is: 150 points for first; 80 points for second; 75 points for third; 70 points for fourth; and 65 points for fifth. After fifth place, points are awarded in decrements of three, beginning at sixth place with 62 points. Points are doubled in the major events and at the season-ending Tour Championship. Rookies who make the cut in an event and finish below 41st each receive five points. The award is named after Louise Suggs, one of the founders of the LPGA.

American golfer Nancy Lopez, in 1978, is the only player to win all three awards in the same season. Lopez was also the Tour's top money earner that season.

YearPlayer of the YearVare TrophyRookie of the Year
2019 Ko Jin-young Ko Jin-young Lee Jeong-eun
2018 Ariya Jutanugarn[19] Ariya Jutanugarn Ko Jin-young[20]
2017 Sung Hyun Park
So Yeon Ryu
Lexi Thompson Sung Hyun Park[21]
2016 Ariya Jutanugarn In Gee Chun In Gee Chun
2015 Lydia Ko Inbee Park Sei Young Kim
2014 Stacy Lewis Stacy Lewis Lydia Ko[22]
2013 Inbee Park Stacy Lewis Moriya Jutanugarn
2012 Stacy Lewis Inbee Park So Yeon Ryu
2011 Yani Tseng Yani Tseng Hee Kyung Seo
2010 Yani Tseng Na Yeon Choi Azahara Muñoz
2009 Lorena Ochoa Lorena Ochoa Jiyai Shin
2008 Lorena Ochoa Lorena Ochoa Yani Tseng
2007 Lorena Ochoa Lorena Ochoa Angela Park
2006 Lorena Ochoa Lorena Ochoa Seon Hwa Lee
2005 Annika Sörenstam Annika Sörenstam Paula Creamer
2004 Annika Sörenstam Grace Park Shi Hyun Ahn
2003 Annika Sörenstam Se Ri Pak Lorena Ochoa
2002 Annika Sörenstam Annika Sörenstam Beth Bauer
2001 Annika Sörenstam Annika Sörenstam Hee-Won Han
2000 Karrie Webb Karrie Webb Dorothy Delasin
1999 Karrie Webb Karrie Webb Mi Hyun Kim
1998 Annika Sörenstam Annika Sörenstam Se Ri Pak
1997 Annika Sörenstam Karrie Webb Lisa Hackney
1996 Laura Davies Annika Sörenstam Karrie Webb
1995 Annika Sörenstam Annika Sörenstam Pat Hurst
1994 Beth Daniel Beth Daniel Annika Sörenstam
1993 Betsy King Betsy King Suzanne Strudwick
1992 Dottie Mochrie Dottie Mochrie Helen Alfredsson
1991 Pat Bradley Pat Bradley Brandie Burton
1990 Beth Daniel Beth Daniel Hiromi Kobayashi
1989 Betsy King Beth Daniel Pamela Wright
1988 Nancy Lopez Colleen Walker Liselotte Neumann
1987 Ayako Okamoto Betsy King Tammie Green
1986 Pat Bradley Pat Bradley Jody Rosenthal
1985 Nancy Lopez Nancy Lopez Penny Hammel
1984 Betsy King Patty Sheehan Juli Inkster
1983 Patty Sheehan JoAnne Carner Stephanie Farwig
1982 JoAnne Carner JoAnne Carner Patti Rizzo
1981 JoAnne Carner JoAnne Carner Patty Sheehan
1980 Beth Daniel Amy Alcott Myra Blackwelder
1979 Nancy Lopez Nancy Lopez Beth Daniel
1978 Nancy Lopez Nancy Lopez Nancy Lopez
1977 Judy Rankin Judy Rankin Debbie Massey
1976 Judy Rankin Judy Rankin Bonnie Lauer
1975 Sandra Palmer JoAnne Carner Amy Alcott
1974 JoAnne Carner JoAnne Carner Jan Stephenson
1973 Kathy Whitworth Judy Rankin Laura Baugh
1972 Kathy Whitworth Kathy Whitworth Jocelyne Bourassa
1971 Kathy Whitworth Kathy Whitworth Sally Little
1970 Sandra Haynie Kathy Whitworth JoAnne Carner
1969 Kathy Whitworth Kathy Whitworth Jane Blalock
1968 Kathy Whitworth Carol Mann Sandra Post
1967 Kathy Whitworth Kathy Whitworth Sharron Moran
1966 Kathy Whitworth Kathy Whitworth Jan Ferraris
1965 Kathy Whitworth Margie Masters
1964 Mickey Wright Susie Maxwell
1963 Mickey Wright Clifford Ann Creed
1962 Mickey Wright Mary Mills
1961 Mickey Wright
1960 Mickey Wright
1959 Betsy Rawls
1958 Beverly Hanson
1957 Louise Suggs
1956 Patty Berg
1955 Patty Berg
1954 Babe Zaharias
1953 Patty Berg

Leading money winners by year

YearPlayerCountryEarnings ($)Most wins
2019Ko Jin-young South Korea2,773,8944 – Ko Jin-young
2018Ariya Jutanugarn Thailand2,743,9493 – Ariya Jutanugarn, Sung Hyun Park
2017Sung Hyun Park South Korea2,335,8833 – Shanshan Feng, In-Kyung Kim
2016Ariya Jutanugarn Thailand2,550,9285 – Ariya Jutanugarn
2015Lydia Ko New Zealand2,800,8025 – Lydia Ko, Inbee Park
2014Stacy Lewis United States2,539,0393 – Lydia Ko, Stacy Lewis, Inbee Park
2013Inbee Park South Korea2,456,6196 – Inbee Park
2012Inbee Park South Korea2,287,0804 – Stacy Lewis
2011Yani Tseng Taiwan2,921,7137 – Yani Tseng
2010Na Yeon Choi South Korea1,871,1665 – Ai Miyazato
2009Jiyai Shin South Korea1,807,3343 – Jiyai Shin, Lorena Ochoa
2008Lorena Ochoa Mexico2,754,6607 – Lorena Ochoa
2007Lorena Ochoa Mexico4,364,9948 – Lorena Ochoa
2006Lorena Ochoa Mexico2,592,8726 – Lorena Ochoa
2005Annika Sörenstam Sweden2,588,24010 – Annika Sörenstam
2004Annika Sörenstam Sweden2,544,7078 – Annika Sörenstam
2003Annika Sörenstam Sweden2,029,5066 – Annika Sörenstam
2002Annika Sörenstam Sweden2,863,90411 – Annika Sörenstam
2001Annika Sörenstam Sweden2,105,8688 – Annika Sörenstam
2000Karrie Webb Australia1,876,8537 – Karrie Webb
1999Karrie Webb Australia1,591,9596 – Karrie Webb
1998Annika Sörenstam Sweden1,092,7484 – Annika Sörenstam, Se Ri Pak
1997Annika Sörenstam Sweden1,236,7896 – Annika Sörenstam
1996Karrie Webb Australia1,002,0004 – Laura Davies, Dottie Pepper, Karrie Webb
1995Annika Sörenstam Sweden666,5333 – Annika Sörenstam
1994Laura Davies England687,2014 – Beth Daniel
1993Betsy King United States595,9923 – Brandie Burton
1992Dottie Mochrie United States693,3354 – Dottie Mochrie
1991Pat Bradley United States763,1184 – Pat Bradley, Meg Mallon
1990Beth Daniel United States863,5787 – Beth Daniel
1989Betsy King United States654,1326 – Betsy King
1988Sherri Turner United States350,8513 – 5 players (see 1)
1987Ayako Okamoto Japan466,0345 – Jane Geddes
1986Pat Bradley United States492,0215 – Pat Bradley
1985Nancy Lopez United States416,4725 – Nancy Lopez
1984Betsy King United States266,7714 – Patty Sheehan, Amy Alcott
1983JoAnne Carner United States291,4044 – Pat Bradley, Patty Sheehan
1982JoAnne Carner United States310,4005 – JoAnne Carner, Beth Daniel
1981Beth Daniel United States206,9985 – Donna Caponi
1980Beth Daniel United States231,0005 – Donna Caponi, JoAnne Carner
1979Nancy Lopez United States197,4898 – Nancy Lopez
1978Nancy Lopez United States189,8149 – Nancy Lopez
1977Judy Rankin United States122,8905 – Judy Rankin, Debbie Austin
1976Judy Rankin United States150,7346 – Judy Rankin
1975Sandra Palmer United States76,3744 – Carol Mann, Sandra Haynie
1974JoAnne Carner United States87,0946 – JoAnne Carner, Sandra Haynie
1973Kathy Whitworth United States82,8647 – Kathy Whitworth
1972Kathy Whitworth United States65,0635 – Kathy Whitworth, Jane Blalock
1971Kathy Whitworth United States41,1815 – Kathy Whitworth
1970Kathy Whitworth United States30,2354 – Shirley Englehorn
1969Carol Mann United States49,1528 – Carol Mann
1968Kathy Whitworth United States48,37910 – Carol Mann, Kathy Whitworth
1967Kathy Whitworth United States32,9378 – Kathy Whitworth
1966Kathy Whitworth United States33,5179 – Kathy Whitworth
1965Kathy Whitworth United States28,6588 – Kathy Whitworth
1964Mickey Wright United States29,80011 – Mickey Wright
1963Mickey Wright United States31,26913 – Mickey Wright
1962Mickey Wright United States21,64110 – Mickey Wright
1961Mickey Wright United States22,23610 – Mickey Wright
1960Louise Suggs United States16,8926 – Mickey Wright
1959Betsy Rawls United States26,77410 – Betsy Rawls
1958Beverly Hanson United States12,6395 – Mickey Wright
1957Patty Berg United States16,2725 – Betsy Rawls, Patty Berg
1956Marlene Hagge United States20,2358 – Marlene Hagge
1955Patty Berg United States16,4926 – Patty Berg
1954Patty Berg United States16,0115 – Louise Suggs, Babe Zaharias
1953Louise Suggs United States19,8168 – Louise Suggs
1952Betsy Rawls United States14,5058 – Betsy Rawls
1951Babe Zaharias United States15,0879 – Babe Zaharias
1950Babe Zaharias United States14,8008 – Babe Zaharias

    1 The five players with who won three titles in 1988 were Juli Inkster, Rosie Jones, Betsy King, Nancy Lopez, and Ayako Okamoto.

    Leading career money winners

    The table below shows the top-10 career money leaders on the LPGA Tour (from the start of their rookie seasons) as of March 5, 2018.[23]

    RankPlayerCountryEarnedEarnings ($)Career
    events
    1Annika Sörenstam Sweden1994–200822,573,192303
    2Karrie Webb Australia1996–201820,179,509472
    3Cristie Kerr United States1997–201819,207,849505
    4Lorena Ochoa Mexico2003–201014,863,331175
    5Suzann Pettersen Norway2003–201714,831,968312
    6Juli Inkster United States1983–201714,026,673692
    7Inbee Park South Korea2007–201813,606,156232
    8Se Ri Pak South Korea1998–201612,583,713365
    9Stacy Lewis United States2009–201812,468,421237
    10Paula Creamer United States2005–201811,915,165294

    Total prize money awarded in past years

    SeasonTotal
    purse ($)
    201041,400,000
    200038,500,000
    199017,100,000
    19805,150,000
    1970435,040
    1960186,700
    195050,000

    See also

    References

    1. "LPGA Unveils New Logo". Golf Channel. LPGA Tour Media. October 4, 2007. Retrieved December 6, 2018.
    2. "LPGA logo". famouslogos.us. Retrieved July 16, 2011.
    3. "Learn more about the 13 LPGA founders". LPGA. 2011. Archived from the original on November 28, 2012. Retrieved April 30, 2013.
    4. Garrity, John; Nutt, Amy (March 18, 1996). "No More Disguises - Muffin Spencer-Devlin stands tall in her chosen role: the first LPGA player to declare she's gay". Sports Illustrated. Retrieved February 11, 2015.
    5. "LPGA Tour: History". The Golf Channel. 2000. Archived from the original on September 27, 2007. Retrieved April 8, 2007.
    6. "About the LPGA". LPGA. Retrieved April 30, 2013.
    7. Mallon, Bill. Historical Dictionary of Golf. p. 330.
    8. "LPGA Names Michael Whan as its Commissioner". LPGA. October 28, 2009. Retrieved April 30, 2013.
    9. "LPGA Tour names Whan commissioner". ESPN. Associated Press. October 28, 2009. Retrieved April 30, 2013.
    10. Achenbach, James (October 13, 2010). "Who is former Long Drive champ Lana Lawless?". Golfweek. Retrieved March 12, 2018.
    11. Thomas, Katie (October 12, 2010). "Transgender Woman Sues L.P.G.A. Over Policy". The New York Times. ISSN 0362-4331. Retrieved March 12, 2018.
    12. Thomas, Katie (December 1, 2010). "L.P.G.A. Will Allow Transgender Players to Compete". The New York Times. Retrieved March 12, 2018.
    13. Boivin, Paola (March 12, 2013). "Transgender golfer dreams of playing in LPGA". USA Today.
    14. Stanley, Adam (August 16, 2019). "LPGA commissioner: 'If I had 150 Brooke Hendersons, I could own the sporting world'". CBC Sports. Retrieved September 24, 2019.
    15. LPGA – South Korean women dominate women's golf in 2008
    16. Mario, Jennifer. "Why Korean golfers are dominating LPGA Tour". Archived from the original on February 9, 2013. Retrieved April 30, 2013.
    17. "LPGA Information: 2009 International Players" (PDF) (Press release). LPGA. Retrieved January 24, 2009.
    18. "LPGA Tour goes to points race". ESPN. Associated Press. January 8, 2014. Retrieved January 10, 2014.
    19. "Ariya Jutanugarn Earns 2018 Rolex Player of the Year Award". LPGA. October 30, 2018.
    20. "Jin Young Ko Earns 2018 Louise Suggs Rolex Rookie of the Year Award". LPGA. October 23, 2018.
    21. "Sung Hyun Park Clinches 2017 Louise Suggs Rolex Rookie of the Year Honors". LPGA. October 18, 2017.
    22. "Lydia Ko is LPGA's top rookie". ESPN. Associated Press. November 12, 2014.
    23. "Career Money". LPGA.
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