US Women's Open blasts off

Purse nearly doubles to $10 million, key future venues announced

US Women’s Open future

US Women's Open future
Mike Whan, CEO, USGA. (Copyright USGA/Jason E. Miczek)

Estimated reading time: 5 minutes

In the heralded movie, Wall Street, the character Gordon Gekko, played famously by Michael Douglas, explained a business truism to protege Bud Fox, played superbly by Charlie Sheen — “It’s always about the bucks, the rest is just conversation.”

US Women’s Open future

That directness played out last week in a major announcement reverberating throughout the global golf world. Clearly signaling a desire to both promote and expand the footprint of women’s golf in the years to come.

After taking over the reins as CEO at the United States Golf Association (USGA) in the summer of 2021, Mike Whan brought forward his first major initiative in securing a co-sponsor for the Women’s Open and with that linkage nearly doubling the prize money for one of golf’s major events. In doing so, the USGA elevated its leading role in the sport generally and women’s golf specifically.

US Women’s Open future

In the 2021 Women’s Open, professional female players competed for a sum of $5.5 million — already the largest sum in women’s professional golf, when played on the Lake Course at The Olympic Club in San Francisco. This June when the Women’s Open is played for the fourth time at Pine Needles in Pinehurst, NC, the prize money will nearly double to a total of $10 million — by far the largest in the women’s professional game.The low professional will also receive a record amount of $1.8 million. The 2021 winner — Yuka Saso — walked off with $1 million.

To provide some sort of measuring stick — the $1.8 million winner’s check exceeds the total amount of money won by all but three individuals who competed on the LPGA Tour in 2021. Within the next five years the overall purse for the championship will grow to $11 million and ultimately #12 million. To provide some context, that figure is $2.5 million short from what the men compete for at the U.S. Open.

US Women’s Open future

For comparison purposes — the total amount provided to the winner of the men’s and women’s Open events in golf is still less than what the champions receive for the United States Tennis Association (USTA) Open championship where the winning male and female players each receive $2.5 million.

Whan led the LPGA as its Commissioner for 11 years before becoming just the 8th lead executive at the USGA. Last Friday’s announcement staged at a Manhattan (NY) ballroom outlined how ProMedica, a nonprofit health care system, based in Toledo, OH will provide the major boost in dollars for the event. The linkage with ProMedica also marks the first time the USGA has included an outside company as co-sponsor for one of its Open championships.

Read next

ISPS Handa World Invitational R3 – Men

By M. James Ward
US Women's Open future
Mike Whan, CEO, USGA, Randy Oostra, President & CEO, ProMedica, Megha Ganne, Danielle Kang, Juli Inkster, Mollie Marcoux Samaan, Commissioner, LPGA . (Copyright USGA/Jason E. Miczek)

US Women’s Open future

“The USGA prides itself on conducting championships that not only provide an incredible stage for the athletes, but also give younger players something to dream about,” said Mike Whan, USGA CEO, in a press release. 

“For more than 75 years, the U.S. Women’s Open has been the one that every little girl, in every country around the world, has dreamed of winning. This partnership with ProMedica allows us to substantially grow the championship in every way, from its purpose to its purse, to the places that host the event.”

In addition, the USGA also announced the names of key golf clubs in America which will stage the Women’s Open in future years. 

In 2023, the event will return to California and be played for the first time at iconic Pebble Beach Golf Links. In 2024 the championship returns for the second time to Lancaster CC in Pennsylvania. From 2025 thru 2030 — the event will be played over historic venues which have hosted previous major championships. In order that line-up includes Erin Hills in Wisconsin, Riviera in the Los Angeles area, Inverness in northeast Ohio, Oakmont for the 3rd time in the Pittsburgh area, Pinehurst #2 in North Carolina and closing out the decade with Interlachen in the Minneapolis region.

US Women’s Open future

In the decades to follow, Oakland Hills in the Detroit area will host the championship in 2031 and 2042 along with Merion in the Philadelphia area in 2034 and 2046. Pebble Beach, Oakmont and Merion had been announced previously to the five new venues stated at the event.

The 2029 event at Pinehurst will see the return in staging the U.S. Open and Women’s Open in consecutive weeks — similar to what happened in 2014 but with the exact order still to be determined.

Share this article