Women's major golf championships
Women's golf has a set of major championships which parallels that in men's golf, with the women's system newer and less stable than the men's. As of 2013, five tournaments are designated as majors in women's golf.
- 1 LPGA majors
- 2 LPGA major winners
- 3 Consecutive victories at a major championship
- 4 Multiple majors in a calendar year
- 4.1 Three
- 4.2 Two
- 4.2.1 Kraft Nabisco Championship and LPGA Championship
- 4.2.2 Kraft Nabisco Championship and U.S. Women's Open
- 4.2.3 Kraft Nabisco Championship and Women's British Open
- 4.2.4 LPGA Championship and U.S. Women's Open
- 4.2.5 LPGA Championship and Women's British Open
- 4.2.6 U.S. Women's Open and Women's British Open
- 4.2.7 Kraft Nabisco Championship and du Maurier Classic
- 4.2.8 LPGA Championship and du Maurier Classic
- 4.2.9 U.S. Women's Open and du Maurier Classic
- 4.2.10 Women's Western Open and LPGA Championship
- 4.2.11 Women's Western Open and U.S. Women's Open
- 4.2.12 Women's Western Open and Titleholders Championship
- 4.2.13 LPGA Championship and Titleholders Championship
- 4.2.14 U.S. Women's Open and Titleholders Championship
- 5 Record scores
- 6 Other regular tours
- 7 Symetra Tour
- 8 Women's senior golf
- 9 See also
- 10 Notes and references
The LPGA's list of majors has changed several times over the years. The two most recent changes were:
- In 2001, the du Maurier Classic, held in Canada, lost its primary sponsorship after that country passed severe restrictions on tobacco advertising. The tournament, now known as the Canadian Women's Open, is still a regular event on the LPGA Tour, but with a somewhat lower profile. The LPGA replaced the du Maurier Classic on its list of majors with the Women's British Open.
- In 2013, The Evian Championship, held in France, became the fifth LPGA major. Known before 2013 as the Evian Masters, it is one of two events recognized as majors by the LPGA's European counterpart, the Ladies European Tour (LET). The elevation of this event to LPGA major status and the name change were announced by the LPGA on July 20, 2011.
As of 2013, the order in which women's majors are played:
- Kraft Nabisco Championship
- LPGA Championship
- Beginning in 2014, the LPGA Championship will move from June to the second week in August, placing it between the Women's British Open and The Evian Championship.
- U.S. Women's Open
- Women's British Open
- The Evian Championship (from 2013 onwards)
Before The Evian Championship became the fifth LPGA major, the setup of women's majors closely paralleled that of the mainstream (i.e., under-50) men's majors. In both cases, the United States hosts three majors and the United Kingdom one. The Evian Championship, as noted above, is held in France. The U.S. and British Opens match their male equivalents, and the LPGA Championship is analogous to the PGA Championship, so by default the Kraft Nabisco Championship is the closest equivalent of The Masters. In any event, the Kraft Nabisco and Masters share several characteristics—both are the first majors of their respective seasons; both are held at the same course every year; and both have a unique tradition surrounding the winner, namely the presentation of the green jacket at The Masters, and the jump into the 18th-hole pond at the Kraft Nabisco.
Unlike the mainstream men's equivalents, with the sole exception of the U.S. Women's Open, the women's majors have title sponsors. This is more similar to the setup for the five senior (50 and over) men's majors; two of those events have title sponsors, and two others have presenting sponsors whose names appear after the tournament title. Similarly differing to the mainstream men's majors, none of which fall under the direct jurisdiction of any professional golf tour, the LPGA organizes two of its majors, namely the Kraft Nabisco and LPGA Championship. The U.S. Women's Open, like its men's counterpart, is operated by the United States Golf Association. The Women's British Open is operated by the Ladies' Golf Union, the governing body for women's golf in the United Kingdom and Ireland. The Evian Championship is operated by the LET. Again, this setup more closely mirrors that of the senior majors; the Champions Tour directly operates two of its majors.
From 2006 through 2008, the winners of the four women's majors received automatic entry to the LPGA's season championship, the LPGA Tour Championship. Beginning in 2009, the Tour Championship extended entry to all players in the top 120 on the official LPGA Money List. Starting in 2011, the Tour Championship was replaced by the CME Group Titleholders; from that point through 2013, the top three finishers at all official tour events, including the majors, who had not already qualified for the Titleholders earned entries. Starting in 2014, the LPGA adopted a points race similar in some ways to the PGA Tour's FedEx Cup. In the new system, officially called the "Race to the CME Globe", the top 72 points earners during the season, plus all tournament winners, qualify for the renamed final event, the CME Group Tour Championship, in which the top nine points earners will have at least a mathematical chance of winning the season title. The PGA Tour's season-ending FedEx Cup playoffs are a series of four events; while major winners are technically not guaranteed entry into even the first playoff event, the FedEx Cup point allocations for major winners are sufficiently high that the winner of one major is essentially assured of making the top 125 in points and qualifying for the FedEx Cup playoffs. The Champions Tour has no season-ending championship as such; although its final event, the Charles Schwab Cup Championship, is a limited-field event analogous to the PGA Tour's Tour Championship, it does not directly determine the championship of the season or even the Charles Schwab Cup points race.
Eight different events are classified as having been LPGA majors at some time. The number in each season has fluctuated between two and five. The first tournament which is now included in the LPGA's official list of major victories is the 1930 Women's Western Open, although this is a retrospective designation as the LPGA was not founded until 1950.
- Women's Western Open: 1930–1967
- Titleholders Championship: 1937–42; 1946–66; 1972
- U.S. Women's Open: 1950–present
- LPGA Championship: 1955–present
- du Maurier Classic: 1979–2000
- Kraft Nabisco Championship: 1983–present
- Women's British Open: 2001–present
- The Evian Championship: 2013–present
LPGA major winners
|Fourth era (beginning in 2013)|
|Year||Kraft Nabisco Championship||U.S. Women's Open||Women's British Open||LPGA Championship||The Evian Championship|
|2014||Lexi Thompson||Michelle Wie||Mo Martin||August 14–17, Monroe G.C.||September 11–14, Evian Resort G.C.|
|2013||Inbee Park (2/4)||Inbee Park (4/4)||Stacy Lewis (2/2)||Inbee Park (3/4)||Suzann Pettersen (2/2)|
The "Grand Slam"
Six women have completed a "Career Grand Slam" by winning four different majors during the four-major era. There are variations in the set of four tournaments involved as the players played in different eras. The six are: Pat Bradley; Juli Inkster; Annika Sörenstam; Louise Suggs; Karrie Webb; and Mickey Wright.
The LPGA recognizes Webb as its only "Super Career Grand Slam" winner, since she is the only golfer to have won five events recognized by the LPGA as majors. Before the elevation of The Evian Championship to major status, the following was required for a golfer to win the Super Career Grand Slam:
- The du Maurier Classic between 1979 and 2000, when it was recognized by the LPGA as a major;
- the Women's British Open in 2001 or later; and
- the other three then-existing majors.
Webb won the du Maurier Classic in 1999 and the Women's British Open in 2002.
Consecutive victories at a major championship
|United States||Patty Berg||Titleholders Championship||3||1937, 1938, 1939|
|Sweden||Annika Sörenstam||LPGA Championship||3||2003, 2004, 2005|
|United States||Opal Hill||Women's Western Open||2||1935, 1936|
|United States||Dorothy Kirby||Titleholders Championship||2||1941, 1942|
|United States||Babe Zaharias||Women's Western Open||2||1944, 1945|
|United States||Louise Suggs||Women's Western Open||2||1946, 1947|
|United States||Patty Berg||Women's Western Open||2||1957, 1958|
|United States||Mickey Wright||U.S. Women's Open||2||1958, 1959|
|United States||Mickey Wright||LPGA Championship||2||1960, 1961|
|United States||Mickey Wright||Titleholders Championship||2||1961, 1962|
|United States||Mickey Wright||Women's Western Open||2||1962, 1963|
|United States||Marilynn Smith||Titleholders Championship||2||1963, 1964|
|United States||Kathy Whitworth||Titleholders Championship||2||1965, 1966|
|United States||Donna Caponi||U.S. Women's Open||2||1969, 1970|
|United States||Susie Berning||U.S. Women's Open||2||1972, 1973|
|United States||Hollis Stacy||U.S. Women's Open||2||1977, 1978|
|United States||Patty Sheehan||LPGA Championship||2||1983, 1984|
|United States||Pat Bradley||du Maurier Classic||2||1985, 1986|
|United States||Betsy King||U.S. Women's Open||2||1989, 1990|
|Sweden||Annika Sörenstam||U.S. Women's Open||2||1995, 1996|
|United States||Juli Inkster||LPGA Championship||2||1999, 2000|
|Australia||Karrie Webb||U.S. Women's Open||2||2000, 2001|
|Sweden||Annika Sörenstam||Kraft Nabisco Championship||2||2001, 2002|
|Taiwan||Yani Tseng||Women's British Open||2||2010, 2011|
Multiple majors in a calendar year
- 1950: Babe Zaharias; Women's Western Open, U.S. Women's Open, and Titleholders Championship
- 1961: Mickey Wright; LPGA Championship, U.S. Women's Open, and Titleholders Championship
- 1986: Pat Bradley; Kraft Nabisco Championship, LPGA Championship, du Maurier Classic
- 2013: Inbee Park; Kraft Nabisco Championship, LPGA Championship, U.S. Women's Open
Note: These golfers are mentioned below under in the two wins section.
Kraft Nabisco Championship and LPGA Championship
- 1986: Pat Bradley
- 2005: Annika Sörenstam
- 2013: Inbee Park
Kraft Nabisco Championship and U.S. Women's Open
Kraft Nabisco Championship and Women's British Open
- 2010: Yani Tseng
LPGA Championship and U.S. Women's Open
- 1958: Mickey Wright
- 1961: Mickey Wright (2)
- 1974: Sandra Haynie
- 1991: Meg Mallon
- 1998: Se Ri Pak
- 1999: Juli Inkster
- 2001: Karrie Webb
- 2013: Inbee Park
LPGA Championship and Women's British Open
- 2003: Annika Sörenstam
- 2011: Yani Tseng
U.S. Women's Open and Women's British Open
- Never has occurred
Kraft Nabisco Championship and du Maurier Classic
LPGA Championship and du Maurier Classic
- 1986: Pat Bradley
- 1996: Laura Davies
U.S. Women's Open and du Maurier Classic
- Never occurred
Women's Western Open and LPGA Championship
Women's Western Open and U.S. Women's Open
- 1949: Louise Suggs
- 1950: Babe Zaharias
Women's Western Open and Titleholders Championship
- 1946: Louise Suggs
- 1948: Patty Berg
- 1950: Babe Zaharias
- 1955: Patty Berg
- 1957: Patty Berg
- 1962: Mickey Wright
LPGA Championship and Titleholders Championship
U.S. Women's Open and Titleholders Championship
The lowest score in relation to par recorded in a women's major championship was 19-under-par, by Dottie Pepper at the 1999 Kraft Nabisco Championship, Karen Stupples at the 2004 Women's British Open, Cristie Kerr at the 2010 LPGA Championship, and Yani Tseng at the 2011 LPGA Championship. The lowest aggregate score for 72-holes is 267, which was achieved by Betsy King at the 1992 LPGA Championship. The single round scoring record is 62, by Minea Blomqvist at the 2004 Women's British Open, and Lorena Ochoa at the 2006 Kraft Nabisco Championship.
Other regular tours
In men's (non-senior) golf, the four majors are agreed globally. All the principal tours acknowledge the status of the majors via their sponsorship of the Official World Golf Ranking, and the prize money is official on the three richest regular tours (the PGA, European, and Japanese tours). This is not the case in women's golf, but the significance of this is limited, as the LPGA Tour is much more dominant in women's golf than the PGA Tour is in men's golf. For example, the BBC has been known to use the LPGA definition of women's majors without qualifying it. Also, before the Evian Masters was elevated to major status, the Ladies' Golf Union, the governing body for women's golf in the UK and Republic of Ireland and the organiser of the Women's British Open, stated on its official site that the Women's British Open is "the only Women's Major to be played outside the U.S."
The Ladies European Tour does not sanction any of the LPGA majors which are played in the United States, and only has two events which it designates as majors on its schedule, namely the Women's British Open and The Evian Championship (historically the Evian Masters), which is played in France. The Ladies European Tour had long tacitly acknowledged the dominance of the LPGA Tour by not scheduling any of its events to conflict with any of the LPGA majors played in the U.S., but that changed slightly in 2008 when the LET scheduled a tournament opposite the LPGA Championship. Also, while the LPGA Tour did not recognize the then-Evian Masters as a major until 2013, it began co-sanctioning the tournament as a regular tour event in 2000. Because it was played the week before the Women's British Open (except in 2012, when the latter event was moved to September to avoid conflict with the London Olympics), and the purse was (and remains) one of the largest on the LPGA Tour, virtually all top LPGA players played the Evian Masters before its elevation to major status. The Evian Championship has now moved to September. (During the 2006–08 period, its winner also received an automatic berth in the LPGA Tour Championship.)
The LPGA of Japan Tour, which is the second richest women's golf tour, has its own set of four majors: the World Ladies, the Japan Open, the JLPGA Championship and the JLPGA Tour Championship. However, these events attract little notice outside Japan, and to a lesser degree South Korea (since a number of Koreans now play on the Japan tour).
Since 2006, the Symetra Tour, the LPGA's developmental tour known through 2011 as the Futures Tour, has designated the Tate & Lyle Players Championship, an event which has been held since 1985, as a major championship. It was the Tour's first $100,000 purse.
Women's senior golf
Professional women's senior golf is in its infancy, and does not yet have a roster of majors. The Legends Tour, originally the Women's Senior Golf Tour, played its first season in 2001.
Notes and references
- "LPGA Adds The Evian as a Major Championship in 2013" (Press release). LPGA. July 20, 2011. Retrieved July 29, 2011.
- "LPGA courses, dates to change". ESPN. Associated Press. June 27, 2013. Retrieved July 3, 2013.
- LPGA Major Championship Winners
- Order in 2013: Kraft Nabisco, LPGA Championship, U.S. Open, British Open, Evian
- "Women's British Open breaks new ground at St Andrews". Ladies' Golf Union. Retrieved April 1, 2007.