Financial backing from corporate sponsors continues to flow into the LPGA Tour, as evidenced by the unveiling of the 2024 schedule on Thursday. This schedule showcases a substantial prize pool of over $116 million and highlights an unprecedented number of 10 regular competitions, each with purses of at least $3 million.
The announcement was made by LPGA Commissioner Mollie Marcoux Samaan during the CME Group Tour Championship. The final event of the season disclosed an increased purse of $11 million for the subsequent year. The champion alone will receive $4 million from this amount.
ESPN announced on Thursday that they will broadcast eight LPGA tournaments on their channel for the next two years. With the new partnership, eight tournaments will extend 18-hole coverage to two premier groups during the morning hours and two in the afternoon.
Commissioner Marcoux Samaan expressed a high level of enthusiasm for the LPGA due to the impressive display of skill it showcases. She is excited to provide fans with additional opportunities to see these incredible players in major tournaments. The new agreement includes the CME Group Tour Championship this week.
Prize money for the LPGA Tour is evident to be increasing
Looking at the trend of prize money on the LPGA Tour, it is evident there has been a steady ascent. It is particularly impacted by increases in major tournaments such as the U.S. Women’s Open (prize money of $11 million this year) and the KPMG Women’s PGA Championship (prize money of $10 million).
There are now between 4 and 10 big tournaments with prizes exceeding $3 million, showing an increase in their frequency. This will exclude the five major tournaments and the CME Group Tour Championship.
There are now plans for a tournament in Boston and alterations to the locations and timing of events on the schedule. The Drive-On event will be relocating from Arizona to Florida. A new competition is scheduled for Arizona in March, but the venue has not been finalized. To enhance travel efficiency in the schedule, certain cross-country trips have been condensed.
For instance, the previous schedule compelled participants to traverse from San Francisco to New Jersey to Las Vegas and back within five weeks. The LPGA Match Play has been rescheduled to take place in early April, followed by a two-week hiatus before the first major tournament, the Chevron Championship, in Houston.
In another shift, the Hawaii-based Lotte Championship moves from its preceding week to the Chevron this year to November, after the four-event Asia swing, thereby serving as the segue to the concluding pairs of events in Florida.
The AIG Women’s British Open has been rescheduled to the last week of August at St Andrews due to the Olympics in France being held earlier. Other majors too are experiencing changes in venue. The Women’s PGA is moving to Sahalee outside Seattle, while the U.S. Women’s Open will be held at Lancaster Country Club in Pennsylvania.
Regarding the Solheim Cup, it returns to Robert Trent Jones Golf Club in Virginia, marking this as the second occurrence of the event being held in consecutive years, an adjustment made to revert to even-numbered years corresponding with the Ryder Cup’s shift to odd-numbered years.