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.
|Current season, competition or edition:|
|Founder||13 original LPGA players|
|TV partner(s)||Golf Channel|
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.
In its 70th season in 2019, the LPGA is the oldest continuing women's professional sports organization in the United States. 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. 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.
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.
After a lawsuit filed by golfer Lana Lawless, the rules were changed in 2010 to allow transgender competitors. 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.
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).
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. Se Ri Pak's early success in the LPGA sparked the boom in Korean women golfers on the LPGA Tour. 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.
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:
- ANA Inspiration
- U.S. Women's Open
- Women's PGA Championship
- Ricoh Women's British Open
- The Evian Championship
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.
2019 LPGA Tour
Historical tour schedules and results
|Year||Number of |
|Countries hosting |
- 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.
|Year||Player of the Year||Vare Trophy||Rookie of the Year|
Leading money winners by year
|Year||Player||Country||Earnings ($)||Most wins|
|2019||Ko Jin-young||2,773,894||4 – Ko Jin-young|
|2018||Ariya Jutanugarn||2,743,949||3 – Ariya Jutanugarn, Sung Hyun Park|
|2017||Sung Hyun Park||2,335,883||3 – Shanshan Feng, In-Kyung Kim|
|2016||Ariya Jutanugarn||2,550,928||5 – Ariya Jutanugarn|
|2015||Lydia Ko||2,800,802||5 – Lydia Ko, Inbee Park|
|2014||Stacy Lewis||2,539,039||3 – Lydia Ko, Stacy Lewis, Inbee Park|
|2013||Inbee Park||2,456,619||6 – Inbee Park|
|2012||Inbee Park||2,287,080||4 – Stacy Lewis|
|2011||Yani Tseng||2,921,713||7 – Yani Tseng|
|2010||Na Yeon Choi||1,871,166||5 – Ai Miyazato|
|2009||Jiyai Shin||1,807,334||3 – Jiyai Shin, Lorena Ochoa|
|2008||Lorena Ochoa||2,754,660||7 – Lorena Ochoa|
|2007||Lorena Ochoa||4,364,994||8 – Lorena Ochoa|
|2006||Lorena Ochoa||2,592,872||6 – Lorena Ochoa|
|2005||Annika Sörenstam||2,588,240||10 – Annika Sörenstam|
|2004||Annika Sörenstam||2,544,707||8 – Annika Sörenstam|
|2003||Annika Sörenstam||2,029,506||6 – Annika Sörenstam|
|2002||Annika Sörenstam||2,863,904||11 – Annika Sörenstam|
|2001||Annika Sörenstam||2,105,868||8 – Annika Sörenstam|
|2000||Karrie Webb||1,876,853||7 – Karrie Webb|
|1999||Karrie Webb||1,591,959||6 – Karrie Webb|
|1998||Annika Sörenstam||1,092,748||4 – Annika Sörenstam, Se Ri Pak|
|1997||Annika Sörenstam||1,236,789||6 – Annika Sörenstam|
|1996||Karrie Webb||1,002,000||4 – Laura Davies, Dottie Pepper, Karrie Webb|
|1995||Annika Sörenstam||666,533||3 – Annika Sörenstam|
|1994||Laura Davies||687,201||4 – Beth Daniel|
|1993||Betsy King||595,992||3 – Brandie Burton|
|1992||Dottie Mochrie||693,335||4 – Dottie Mochrie|
|1991||Pat Bradley||763,118||4 – Pat Bradley, Meg Mallon|
|1990||Beth Daniel||863,578||7 – Beth Daniel|
|1989||Betsy King||654,132||6 – Betsy King|
|1988||Sherri Turner||350,851||3 – 5 players (see 1)|
|1987||Ayako Okamoto||466,034||5 – Jane Geddes|
|1986||Pat Bradley||492,021||5 – Pat Bradley|
|1985||Nancy Lopez||416,472||5 – Nancy Lopez|
|1984||Betsy King||266,771||4 – Patty Sheehan, Amy Alcott|
|1983||JoAnne Carner||291,404||4 – Pat Bradley, Patty Sheehan|
|1982||JoAnne Carner||310,400||5 – JoAnne Carner, Beth Daniel|
|1981||Beth Daniel||206,998||5 – Donna Caponi|
|1980||Beth Daniel||231,000||5 – Donna Caponi, JoAnne Carner|
|1979||Nancy Lopez||197,489||8 – Nancy Lopez|
|1978||Nancy Lopez||189,814||9 – Nancy Lopez|
|1977||Judy Rankin||122,890||5 – Judy Rankin, Debbie Austin|
|1976||Judy Rankin||150,734||6 – Judy Rankin|
|1975||Sandra Palmer||76,374||4 – Carol Mann, Sandra Haynie|
|1974||JoAnne Carner||87,094||6 – JoAnne Carner, Sandra Haynie|
|1973||Kathy Whitworth||82,864||7 – Kathy Whitworth|
|1972||Kathy Whitworth||65,063||5 – Kathy Whitworth, Jane Blalock|
|1971||Kathy Whitworth||41,181||5 – Kathy Whitworth|
|1970||Kathy Whitworth||30,235||4 – Shirley Englehorn|
|1969||Carol Mann||49,152||8 – Carol Mann|
|1968||Kathy Whitworth||48,379||10 – Carol Mann, Kathy Whitworth|
|1967||Kathy Whitworth||32,937||8 – Kathy Whitworth|
|1966||Kathy Whitworth||33,517||9 – Kathy Whitworth|
|1965||Kathy Whitworth||28,658||8 – Kathy Whitworth|
|1964||Mickey Wright||29,800||11 – Mickey Wright|
|1963||Mickey Wright||31,269||13 – Mickey Wright|
|1962||Mickey Wright||21,641||10 – Mickey Wright|
|1961||Mickey Wright||22,236||10 – Mickey Wright|
|1960||Louise Suggs||16,892||6 – Mickey Wright|
|1959||Betsy Rawls||26,774||10 – Betsy Rawls|
|1958||Beverly Hanson||12,639||5 – Mickey Wright|
|1957||Patty Berg||16,272||5 – Betsy Rawls, Patty Berg|
|1956||Marlene Hagge||20,235||8 – Marlene Hagge|
|1955||Patty Berg||16,492||6 – Patty Berg|
|1954||Patty Berg||16,011||5 – Louise Suggs, Babe Zaharias|
|1953||Louise Suggs||19,816||8 – Louise Suggs|
|1952||Betsy Rawls||14,505||8 – Betsy Rawls|
|1951||Babe Zaharias||15,087||9 – Babe Zaharias|
|1950||Babe Zaharias||14,800||8 – Babe Zaharias|
Leading career money winners
|8||Se Ri Pak||1998–2016||12,583,713||365|
Total prize money awarded in past years
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