NAPLES, Fla. (AP) -- More than $100 million will be awarded to LPGA players for the first time in 2023, an increase of about 18% over what was planned for this season and more than doubling what was paid out on the tour just a decade ago.
A total of 33 official events next year will have a combined $101.3 million in purses, the tour announced Friday while unveiling the schedule -- one that includes, if they happen, two events in China. The LPGA has not played there since October 2019, canceling each of its last five planned events in China after the coronavirus pandemic.
"The LPGA Tour has never had better or more committed partners who see the commercial value in investing in women's sports and who understand how their partnerships elevate women and girls on and off the golf course," LPGA Commissioner Mollie Marcoux Samaan said.
The five women's golf majors account for $37.9 million of the planned purses, led by $10 million set to be paid out at the U.S. Women's Open at Pebble Beach next July. That tournament is immediately preceded on the schedule by the Women's PGA Championship at Baltrusol, a $9 million event.
That's $19 million to be paid out in a span of just two events, something that was unfathomable in women's golf just a few years ago.
"In the LPGA we wake up, and when the year begins we have to put on a schedule," Marcoux Samaan said this month. "A lot of professional leagues, the schedule is already designed. Our most important thing that we do is have great partners like this and that we can put on tournaments and have those opportunities for our women.
"That's challenging as an organization to make sure that again, you find the right partners that are willing to invest, fully invest in the women and have purses that are commensurate with the talent of our players, so that's always very challenging."
Official purses for this season wound up reaching about $93.5 million, mainly through increases to what was offered at the majors. The plan entering 2022 was for purses to be $85.7 million.
Every tournament on the 2023 slate carries a purse of at least $1.5 million, and there are only four with purses that small. There are 16 tournaments, excluding the majors, with purses of at least $2 million, including seven of the final eight on the schedule.
After the Solheim Cup in Spain in late September, the LPGA will play eight consecutive weeks to finish its season in a bit of a frenzy. The first two stops are in Arkansas and Texas, then a four-tournament Asian swing through China, Korea, Taiwan and Japan, followed by the last two weeks in Florida -- and capped again by the $7 million CME Group Tour Championship in Naples, with $2 million to the winner.
The $2 million first-place prize matches what will be awarded to the winner this weekend in Naples, and is the biggest single check in women's golf.