The prize money at the U.S. Women’s Open has jumped to US $10mn this year, a major increase from US$ 5.5mn last year, thanks to the addition of non-profit organisation ProMedica as the event’s presenting partner.
The involvement of ProMedica marks the first time the over 100-year-old USGA will have a presenting sponsor in any of its national events – pro or amateur. The change has been driven largely by current USGA CEO Mike Whan, a sports marketing specialist. Previously, Whan was the CEO of the LPGA, where he successfully grew the number of tournaments and the prize money on offer for the players.
“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,” current USGA CEO, and former LPGA CEO, Mike Whan said in a statement. “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.”
The USGA’s hiring of Whan indicates the organization is looking to maximise its revenue and demonstrates the kind of impact having a marketing expert instead of an administrator can make. In all likelihood, the USGA will add more sponsors to all its events, including the national amateur tournaments and the men’s U.S. Open.
The 2022 U.S. Women’s Open will take place at the Pine Needles Lodge and Golf Club from June 2-5. The prize money is expected to rise to US $12mn by 2026, which would match the purse at this year’s men’s PGA Championship. It will also be just half-a million shy of the $12.5 million the USGA hands out at the men’s U.S. Open.
— U.S. Women’s Open (USGA) (@uswomensopen) January 7, 2022
Rising purses are also increasingly common within women’s golf. The 2021 AIG Women’s British Open had a then-record $5.8 million prize fund, and the 2022 championship’s purse is a full $1 million higher.
The 2022 U.S. Women’s Open winner will earn $1.8 million while the 2022 CME Group Tour Championship winner will earn an LPGA record $2 million. Only 27 women’s golfers have earned $2 million or higher over an entire season, as Golfweek pointed out. That number should go up along with the increase in prize money.
Photo – LPGA