By DOUG FERGUSON, AP Golf Writer
Long regarded as the premier event in women’s golf, the US Women’s Open now has cash prizes and future venues to match.
The United States Golf Association announced on Friday that the stock market will almost double this year to $ 10 million, by far the richest in women’s golf and prestigious awards in women’s sport.
The purse was $ 5.5 million when Yuka Saso won at the Olympic club last year.
The USGA was instrumental in making this possible one main sponsor – PreMedica, an Ohio-based nonprofit integrated health organization serving 28 states.
With support from ProMedica, the US Women’s Open purse is expected to grow to $ 11 million and possibly $ 12 million over the next five years.
In addition to a huge cash win, the USGA sends women to some of the classic US Open models that have been welcoming men for decades. This list includes a return to Oakmont and Pinehurst # 2, as well as Riviera, Oakland Hills, Merion, Inverness and Interlachen.
The USGA said Pinehurst would host the Men’s and Women’s Open over the following weeks in 2029, just like on her very successful debut in 2014. Martin Kaymer won the US Open and Michelle Wie won her first major in the US Women’s Open the following week.
This is the USGA’s first major initiative since Mike Whan, the former LPGA Tour commissioner, took over as CEO last summer.
“The USGA is proud to host championships that not only provide an incredible stage for athletes, but also give young players something to dream of,” said Whan. “For over 75 years, the US Women’s Open has been the one every little girl, in every country of the world, dreams 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 is committed to raising more than $ 1 billion over eight years for programs to improve individual and community health.
“We are going to 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 will be held June 2-5 at Pine Needles Lodge in North Carolina, and then travel to Pebble Beach for the first time the following year. Pebble Beach was already on the program.
Pine Needles has a short but strong history of the Women’s Open, with a roster of champions that includes Annika Sorenstam, Karrie Webb and Cristie Kerr.
It had only been to Pinehurst once – consecutive weeks in 2014 – and Pine Needles was among the venues that could qualify as a course where women played the Open.
The future lineup is littered with historic courses, such as Riviera and Merion, which have hosted the US Open over the years.
Most telling was Oakland Hills on the list. The Detroit-area course recently underwent a major renovation under the direction of Gil Hanse, whose architectural firm was chosen to design the Rio Olympic golf course for the 2016 Olympics.
He’s trying to win a US Open for the seventh time. Oakland Hills is where Ben Hogan “brought this course, this monster” to his 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 West Coast’s most legendary stops, but it was found to lack room for all of the infrastructure required for a men’s major, like 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 their first Women’s Open in 2008. This will be played in 2030, with Bobby Jones’ 100th birthday winning the US Open in 2008. from its “impregnable quadrilateral” sweep of the four greatest golf tournaments of its time.
It wasn’t immediately clear how much the winner would receive at the US Women’s Open. Saso earned a little more than the stock market’s typical 18%, with the USGA wanting to offer the biggest payout at $ 1 million.
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