By DOUG FERGUSON
The KPMG Women’s PGA Championship is doubling the size of its purse to $9 million, another boost to the women’s game that brings prize money for the five majors to nearly triple the amount from a decade ago.
The purse for the LPGA Tour’s second-oldest major is now 300% higher than it was in 2014, the year before KPMG and the PGA of America partnered with the LPGA Tour to raise the prize money and the profile by taking it to fabled courses.
The Women’s PGA Championship starts Thursday at Congressional Country Club, which has hosted the U.S. Open three times. The winner will get $1.35 million.
The USGA signed up a presenting sponsor (ProMedica) for the U.S. Women’s Open in nearly doubling the prize money from what already was the largest of the LPGA majors. Minjee Lee won $1.8 million from a $10 million purse earlier this month at Pine Needles.
The Amundia Evian Championship in France already announced a $2 million increase to $6.8 million, while the AIG Women’s British Open has seen steady increases with a new title sponsor and now is up to $6.8 million. The Chevron Championship had a $5 million purse, nearly $2 million more than the previous year.
That brings prize money for the five majors to $37.3 million. In 2012, the same five tournaments had combined prize money of $13.75 million.
All but the U.S. Women’s Open have corporate sponsors as part of the title.
“We are accelerating the advancement, development and empowerment of women both on and off the golf course,” said Paul Knopp, the U.S. chairman and CEO of KPMG. “The significantly increased purse size — along with top courses in major markets, network TV coverage, and advanced data and analytics capabilities provided via KPMG Performance Insights — are tangible examples of our commitment to elevate the world-class athletes on the LPGA Tour.”
KPMG Performance Insights was launched last year to give the women a trove of statistics to help advance their games.
LPGA Tour Commissioner Mollie Marcoux Samaan delivered the news to her players in an email Tuesday morning, and it got plenty of attention.
“You heard a murmur kind of going around the clubhouse. ‘Hey, did you see that email, 9 mil.’ And everybody is super, super excited,” Mariah Stackhouse said. “It’s awesome being a KPMG ambassador to see us joining that push for increasing and elevating women’s golf, and it’s been done with this championship in terms of the competition ever since KPMG has taken over. So to see the purse rise too, it’s just really cementing this as … one of the premier, if not the premier major in women’s golf.”
Since KPMG became a sponsor, the Women’s PGA has gone to Hazeltine and Olympia Fields, Aronimink and Sahalee, all courses that have hosted men’s majors. Nelly Korda is the defending champion, winning last year at Atlanta Athletic Club to reach No. 1 for the first time.
The field features 99 of the top 100 players on the LPGA Tour’s money list.
“This is a very big day for the LPGA, for women’s golf and for women’s sports,” Marcoux Samaan said. “And we look forward to working with KPMG and the PGA of America to continue to use our platform to empower young women and inspire positive change in the world.”
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