NAPLES, Fla. (AP) — The money from corporate support keeps pouring into the LPGA Tour, which on Thursday announced a 2024 schedule with over $116 million in prize money and a record 10 regular tournaments offering at least $3 million.
LPGA Commissioner Mollie Marcoux Samaan released the schedule at the CME Group Tour Championship, the season finale that previously announced it will raise its purse to $11 million next year with $4 million going to the winner.
Also on Thursday, ESPN said it has signed a two-year agreement with the LPGA in which it will provide featured group coverage on ESPN+ at eight tournaments.
The ESPN deal is significant because LPGA coverage, outside of the majors and select events, is limited to Golf Channel. Those eight events will have 18-hole coverage of two featured groups in the morning and two in the afternoon.
“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 said.
The agreement includes this week’s CME Group Tour Championship.
Prize money on the LPGA Tour has been steadily climbing, with recent boosts coming from the majors, particularly the U.S. Women’s Open ($11 million this year) and the KPMG Women’s PGA Championship ($10 million).
More sponsors are boosting purses incrementally. This year, only four regular tournaments — not including the five majors or the CME Group Tour Championship — had prize funds of $3 million or more. Now there are 10.
The schedule features a new tournament in the Boston area, and some moving parts. The “Drive On” tournaments moves from Arizona to Florida next year, but Arizona will have another tournament in March at a course to be determined
There also is a smoother flow in the schedule to avoid some trips across the country. One stretch this year had the LPGA go from San Francisco to New Jersey to Las Vegas and back to New Jersey in a span of five weeks.
The LPGA Match Play in Las Vegas now moves to the first week in April, right before the LPGA takes a two-weeks break before its first major (Chevron Championship) in Houston.
The Lotte Championship in Hawaii this year was played a week before the Chevron in Houston. Next year, the Hawaii event moves to November for the first time and follows the four-event Asia swing, so it’s on the way back toward the final two events in Florida.
The AIG Women’s British Open returns to St. Andrews the last full week in August because of the Olympics in France, which will be two weeks earlier. The Women’s PGA goes to Sahalee outside Seattle, while the U.S. Women’s Open is at Lancaster Country Club in Pennsylvania.
The LPGA again has two tournaments in Los Angeles with one wrinkle. Se Ri Pak, the Hall of Famers and trailblazer of women’s golf in South Korea, will have her name as part of the title at Palos Verdes — the Se Ri Pak LA Open. She joins Michelle Wie West (Mizuhos Americas Open) and Annika Sorenstam (The Annika) as players becoming tournament hosts.
The Solheim Cup is at the Robert Trent Jones Golf Club in Virginia. This is the second time the Solheim Cup is held in back-to-back years as it goes back to even-numbered years due to the Ryder Cup going back to odd-numbered years.
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