Inaugural U.S. Senior Women’s Open to offer $1 million purse

USGA Chicago Golf Club USGA

Inaugural U.S. Senior Women’s Open to offer $1 million purse

Golf

Inaugural U.S. Senior Women’s Open to offer $1 million purse

MIAMI BEACH, Fla. — The U.S. Golf Association is launching the inaugural U.S. Senior Women’s Open with flair.

When 120 of the finest professional and amateur females 50 and over tee it up at Chicago Golf Club in Wheaton, Ill., July 12-16, they’ll be vying for a total purse of $1 million.

That makes it the richest senior women’s event in golf.

By comparison, last year’s inaugural Senior LPGA Championship, a 54-hole event with 81 contestants, offered a purse of $600,000. The U.S. Women’s Open, a 72-hole tournament with 156 players, comes with a $5 million purse. The U.S. Senior Open provides $4 million in total prize money.

In making the announcement at the USGA’s annual meeting at the Fontainebleau Hotel in Miami Beach, USGA executive director and chief operating officer Mike Davis made it clear that the decision to offer the $1 million purse still has to be approved by the USGA Executive Committee at its spring meeting.

“We have budgeted one million dollars,” Davis said.

No opposition to the proposal is expected. Certainly not from the contestants.

“It’s a classy decision,” Amy Alcott said. “One that indicates how much things have changed in women’s sports.”

Alcott, who is automatically eligible to play in the U.S. Senior Women’s Open by virtue of her status as a member of the World Golf Hall of Fame and as a winner of the 1980 U.S. Women’s Open, said she’s really excited about playing. Fox Sports will televise the tournament.

“Golf doesn’t stop at 50,” she said. “We want an arena to showcase our talent and now we really have one.”

A specific breakdown of shares for the winner and other finishers was not made immediately available. But Jane Gedddes, who is also eligible to play by virtue of her winning the 1986 U.S. Women’s Open, says it will certainly be more than the $45,000 she won back then.

“One million dollars, that’s very impressive,” she said. “When they announced this event last year we had no idea what the prize money would be, no reference point for anything like that in senior women’s golf.”

Chicago GC, one of five founding members of the USGA, will play to par 73 and measure 6,082 yards for the U.S. Senior Women’s Open. The course, originally designed by Charles Blair Macdonald in 1894, was completely redesigned by his protégé, Seth Raynor, in 1923.  The open, prairie-style layout with extensive native grasslands and pronounced angular mounding is ranked No. 10 on Golfweek’s Best Classic Courses list.

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