The LPGA Tour, which on Thursday revealed a 2024 schedule with over $116 million in prize money and a record 10 regular tournaments giving at least $3 million, continues to receive financial assistance from businesses.
At the CME Group Tour Championship, the season finale that recently revealed it will increase its purse to $11 million next year with $4 million going to the winner, LPGA commissioner Mollie Marcoux Samaan unveiled the schedule.
Additionally on Thursday, ESPN announced that it had inked a two-year contract with the LPGA, under which it would broadcast eight tournaments with highlighted group coverage on ESPN+.
The ESPN deal is significant because Golf Channel is the only place to watch the LPGA outside of the majors and a few other events. Eighteen holes total, two highlighted groups in the morning and two in the afternoon, will be covered throughout those eight events.
“The LPGA represents the best of the best and we’re thrilled to be able to offer more opportunities for fans to watch these incredible athletes perform on the biggest stage,” Marcoux Samaan stated.
The CME Group Tour Championship this week is included in the arrangement.
The majors, especially the U.S. Women’s Open ($11 million this year) and the KPMG Women’s PGA Championship ($10 million), have contributed to the LPGA Tour’s increasing prize money.
The number of sponsors is gradually increasing purses. With the exception of the CME Group Tour Championship and the five majors, only four regular tournaments this year had prize money of $3 million or more. There are now ten.
There are some shifting pieces including a new competition in the Boston region on the calendar. Next year, the “Drive On” events will relocate from Arizona to Florida; however, there will still be an Arizona tournament in March at an unnamed location.
The schedule has also been improved to eliminate some cross-country travel. This year, the LPGA travelled five weeks in a row, starting in San Francisco, going to New Jersey, Las Vegas, and back to New Jersey.
Moving to the first week of April, the LPGA Match Play in Las Vegas will now take place just before the LPGA’s two-week break prior to its first major, the Chevron Championship in Houston.
This year, the Lotte Championship in Hawaii was place one week before to the Chevron in Houston. The Hawaii tournament is headed back towards the final two events in Florida when it moves to November for the first time the following year, following the four-event Asia swing.
Because of the French Olympics, which will take place two weeks earlier, the AIG Women’s British Open will return to St. Andrews during the final full week of August. The U.S. Women’s Open will be held at Lancaster Country Club in Pennsylvania, and the Women’s PGA will be held at Sahalee, west of Seattle.
With one new twist, the LPGA is back in Los Angeles with two tournaments. Se Ri Pak, the South Korean golf pioneer and Hall of Famer, will have her name attached to the Se Ri Pak LA Open title at Palos Verdes. She becomes the third player to host a tournament after Annika Sorenstam (The Annika) and Michelle Wie West (Mizuhos Americas Open).
The Robert Trent Jones Golf Club in Virginia is the site of the Solheim Cup. This is the second time that the Solheim Cup has been held in successive years; the Ryder Cup is returning to odd-numbered years, therefore the Solheim Cup is moving back to even-numbered years.
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