Women's British Open

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Women's British Open
Tournament information
Location  United Kingdom
Established 1976, 41 years ago
Course(s) varies - in 2017:
Fife, Scotland
Organized by The R&A
Tour(s) LPGA Tour (1984, 1994–)
LET (1979–)
Format Stroke play
Prize fund $3,250,000
2,200,000   (est.)
£1,750,000   (est.)
Month played August
Tournament record score
Aggregate 269 Karrie Webb (1997)
269 Karen Stupples (2004)
To par −19 Karrie Webb (1997)
−19 Karen Stupples (2004)
Current champion
Thailand Ariya Jutanugarn
2017 Women's British Open

The Women's British Open is a major championship in women's professional golf. It is recognized by both the LPGA Tour and the Ladies European Tour as a major. The reigning champion is Ariya Jutanugarn, who won by three shots at Woburn Golf and Country Club in 2016 to earn her first major title.

Usually played in late July, the 2012 edition was scheduled for mid-September, due to the 2012 Summer Olympics in London. The 2013 event was played in early August and the 2014 event in mid-July, the week prior to the Open Championship.

Since 2007, it has been called the Ricoh Women's British Open, for sponsorship reasons. The previous twenty editions (1987–2006) were sponsored by Weetabix, a breakfast cereal.[1]


The practice green at Sunningdale Golf Club in 2008.

The Women's British Open was established by the Ladies' Golf Union in 1976 and was intended to serve as the women's equivalent of The Open Championship. At first, it was difficult for the organisers to get the most prestigious courses to agree to host the event, with the exception of Royal Birkdale, which hosted it twice during its early days — in 1982 and 1986. After nearly folding in 1983, the tournament was held at the best of the "second-tier" courses, including Woburn Golf and Country Club for seven straight years, 1990 through 1996, as well as in 1984 and 1999.

As its prestige continued to increase, more of the links courses that are in the rotation for The Open Championship, such as Turnberry (2002) and Royal Lytham & St Annes (1998, 2003, 2006) hosted the tournament, in addition to Royal Birkdale (2000, 2005, 2010). In 2007, the tournament took place at the Old Course at St Andrews for the first time. However unlike its male counterpart, the tournament has not adopted a links-only policy. This greatly increases the number of potential venues, especially the number close to the major population centres of England. Two additional Open Championship venues became first-time hosts for the women's event in the 2010s: Carnoustie (2011) and Royal Liverpool (2012). The tournament has yet to be played at four Open Championship courses: Muirfield and Royal Troon in Scotland, Royal St. George's in southeastern England, and Royal Portrush in Northern Ireland.

Through 1993, the tournament was an official stop only on the Ladies European Tour, with the exception of the 1984 edition, which was co-sanctioned by the LPGA Tour. Starting in 1994, it became a permanent LPGA Tour event, which increased both the quality of the field and the event's prestige. It has been an official LPGA major since 2001, when it replaced the du Maurier Classic in Canada. In 2005, the starting field size was increased to 150, but only the low 65 (plus ties) survive the cut after the second round. In both 2007 and 2008 the prize fund was £1.05 million. Starting in 2009, the prize fund changed from being fixed in pounds to U.S. dollars, and is now $3.0 million.

Tied for most victories in the Women's British Open with three each are Karrie Webb of Australia and Sherri Steinhauer of the United States. Both won the tournament twice before it became an LPGA major and once after. Yani Tseng of Taiwan and Jiyai Shin of South Korea are the multiple winners as a major championship. The other multiple winner is Debbie Massey of the U.S., with consecutive wins (1980 & 1981) well before it was an LPGA co-sanctioned event.

Exemptions and qualifying events[edit]

The field for the tournament is 144, and golfers may gain a place in three ways. The overwhelming majority of the field is made up of leading players who are given exemptions. The rest of the field is made up of players who were successful in "Final Qualifying".

There were fourteen "exemption" categories as of 2011. Among the more significant are:

  • The top 15 (and ties) from the previous year's Women's British Open.
  • The top 10 Ladies European Tour members in the Women's World Golf Rankings who did not finish in the top 15 of the previous year's event.
  • The top 30 LPGA members in the Women's World Golf Rankings who did not finish in the top 15 of the previous year's event.
  • The top 25 on the current year's LET money list not already exempt from the previous year's event or the world rankings. (Before the world rankings were incorporated into qualifying, this category consisted of the top 35 on the money list.)
  • The top 40 on the current year's LPGA Tour money list not already exempt from the previous year's event or the world rankings. (Before the world rankings were incorporated into qualifying, this category consisted of the top 70 on the money list.)
  • The top 5 on the current year's LPGA of Japan Tour money list not already exempt from the previous year's event, or through the world rankings if they are also members of the LET or U.S. LPGA. (Note that these six categories have accounted for approximately 125 entries — or 5/6ths of the players in the final field.)
  • Winners of any recognised LET or LPGA events in the current calendar year.
  • The champions from the last 10 editions of the Women's British Open.
  • The champions of the last 5 editions of one of the other three LPGA majors.

"Final Qualifying" is the traditional way for non-exempt players to win a place at the Women's British Open, although it has become much less meaningful since the tournament became an official LPGA event in 1994. In 2011, an 18-hole pre-qualifying competition was held two weeks before the Open, followed by an 18-hole final qualifying competition the Monday before the Open.

In addition, to permit overseas qualifying, five spots have been awarded to the top five entrants not otherwise qualified who won the highest places at the LPGA's Jamie Farr Owens Corning Classic in the Toledo suburb of Sylvania, Ohio. However, this qualifying method is subject to change in 2011, as that tournament will go on a one-year hiatus. Three spots are also awarded to the three LET members who finish highest in the Finnair Masters and not otherwise qualified.

The Women's World Golf Rankings have only recently[when?] begun to play a significant role in qualifying. See full list of exempt categories and qualifying rules for the 2011 tournament.


LPGA major championship[edit]

Winners of the championship as an LPGA major (2001–present):[2]

Year Dates Champion Country Venue Score To par Margin
of victory
Runner(s)-up Purse
share ($)
2017 Aug 3–6 Kingsbarns 3,250,000 487,500
2016 Jul 28–31 Ariya Jutanugarn  Thailand Woburn 272 −16 3 strokes South Korea Mirim Lee
United States Mo Martin
3,000,000 412,047
2015 Jul 30 – Aug 2 Inbee Park  South Korea Turnberry 276 −12 3 strokes South Korea Ko Jin-young 3,000,000 464,817
2014 Jul 10–13 Mo Martin  United States Royal Birkdale 287 −1 1 stroke China Shanshan Feng
Norway Suzann Pettersen
3,000,000 474,575
2013 Aug 1–4 Stacy Lewis  United States St Andrews 280 −8 2 strokes South Korea Na Yeon Choi
South Korea Hee Young Park
2,750,000 402,583
2012 Sep 13–16 Jiyai Shin  South Korea Royal Liverpool 279 −9 9 strokes South Korea Inbee Park 2,750,000 428,650
2011 Jul 28–31 Yani Tseng  Taiwan Carnoustie 272 −16 4 strokes United States Brittany Lang 2,500,000 392,133
2010 Jul 29 – Aug 1 Yani Tseng  Taiwan Royal Birkdale 277 −11 1 stroke Australia Katherine Hull 2,500,000 408,714
2009 Jul 30 – Aug 2 Catriona Matthew  Scotland Royal Lytham & St Annes 285 −3 3 strokes Australia Karrie Webb 2,200,000 335,000
2008 Jul 31 – Aug 3 Jiyai Shin  South Korea Sunningdale 270 −18 3 strokes Taiwan Yani Tseng 2,100,000 314,464
2007 Aug 2–5 Lorena Ochoa  Mexico St Andrews 287 −5 4 strokes Sweden Maria Hjorth
South Korea Jee Young Lee
2,000,000 320,512
2006 Aug 3–6 Sherri Steinhauer  United States Royal Lytham & St Annes 281 −7 3 strokes Sweden Sophie Gustafson
United States Cristie Kerr
1,800,000 305,440
2005 July 28–31 Jeong Jang  South Korea Royal Birkdale 272 −16 4 strokes Sweden Sophie Gustafson 1,800,000 280,208
2004 July 29 – Aug 1 Karen Stupples  England Sunningdale 269 −19 5 strokes Australia Rachel Hetherington 1,600,000 290,880
2003 July 31 – Aug 3 Annika Sörenstam  Sweden Royal Lytham & St Annes 278 −10 1 stroke South Korea Se Ri Pak 1,600,000 254,880
2002 Aug 8–11 Karrie Webb  Australia Turnberry 273 −15 2 strokes Australia Michelle Ellis
Spain Paula Martí
1,500,000 236,383
2001 Aug 2–5 Se Ri Pak  South Korea Sunningdale 277 −11 2 strokes South Korea Mi Hyun Kim 1,500,000 221,650

LPGA event[edit]

Winners as a co-sanctioned LPGA tournament, but not an LPGA major (1994–2000):[2]

Year Date Champion Country Venue Score To par Margin
of victory
Runner(s)-up Purse
share ($)
2000 Aug 17–20 Sophie Gustafson  Sweden Royal Birkdale 282 −6 2 strokes United States Becky Iverson
United States Meg Mallon
Sweden Liselotte Neumann
England Kirsty Taylor
1,250,000 178,000
1999 Aug 12–15 Sherri Steinhauer  United States Woburn 283 −5 1 stroke Sweden Annika Sörenstam 1,000,000 160,000
1998 Aug 13–16 Sherri Steinhauer  United States Royal Lytham &
St Annes
292 +4 1 stroke United States Brandie Burton
Sweden Sophie Gustafson
1,000,000 162,000
1997 Aug 14–17 Karrie Webb  Australia Sunningdale 269 −19 8 strokes United States Rosie Jones 900,000 129,938
1996 Aug 15–18 Emilee Klein  United States Woburn 277 −11 7 strokes United States Amy Alcott
United States Penny Hammel
850,000 124,000
1995 Aug 17–20 Karrie Webb  Australia Woburn 278 −10 6 strokes Sweden Annika Sörenstam
United States Jill McGill
600,000 92,400
1994 Aug 11–14 Liselotte Neumann  Sweden Woburn 280 −8 3 strokes Sweden Annika Sörenstam 500,000 80,325

Earlier tournaments[edit]

Winners before the tournament became an LPGA tournament (1976–93):

Year Champion Country Venue Score Margin
of victory
Runner(s)-up Purse
share (£)
Weetabix Women's British Open
1993 Karen Lunn  Australia Woburn 275 8 strokes United States Brandie Burton 300,000 50,000
1992 Patty Sheehan  United States Woburn 207 3 strokes Australia Corinne Dibnah 300,000 50,000
1991 Penny Grice-Whittaker  England Woburn 284 3 strokes Sweden Helen Alfredsson
England Diane Barnard
150,000 25,000
1990 Helen Alfredsson  Sweden Woburn 288 Playoff Zimbabwe Jane Hill 130,000 20,000
1989 Jane Geddes  United States Ferndown 274 2 strokes Belgium Florence Descampe 120,000 18,000 [3]
1988 Corinne Dibnah  Australia Lindrick 295 Playoff United States Sally Little 100,000 15,000
1987 Alison Nicholas  England St Mellion 296 1 stroke England Laura Davies
United States Muffin Spencer-Devlin
100,000 15,000 [4]
Women's British Open
1986 Laura Davies  England Royal Birkdale 283 4 strokes United States Peggy Conley
Spain Marta Figueras-Dotti
60,000 9,000 [5]
Burberry Women's British Open
1985 Betsy King  United States Moor Park 300 2 strokes Spain Marta Figueras-Dotti 60,000 9,000 [6]
Hitachi Women's British Open
1984 Ayako Okamoto  Japan Woburn 289 11 strokes United States Betsy King
Scotland Dale Reid
160,000 24,000 [7]
Pretty Polly Women's British Open
1983 No tournament
1982 Marta Figueras-Dotti (a)  Spain Royal Birkdale 296 1 stroke United States Rosie Jones
England Jenny Lee Smith
23,000 (6,000) [8]
1981 Debbie Massey  United States Northumberland 295 4 strokes Scotland Belle Robertson (a) 19,000 [9]
1980 Debbie Massey  United States Wentworth 294 1 stroke Spain Marta Figueras-Dotti (a)
Scotland Belle Robertson (a)
15,000 4,500 [10]
1979 Alison Sheard  South Africa Southport & Ainsdale 301 3 strokes England Mickey Walker 10,000 3,000 [11]
1978 Janet Melville (a)  England Foxhills 310 2 strokes Scotland Wilma Aikten (a) (1,000) [12]
Women's British Open
1977 Vivien Saunders  England Lindrick 306 Countback England Mary Everard (a) 500 210 [13]
1976 Jenny Lee Smith (a)  England Fulford 299 2 strokes Republic of Ireland Mary McKenna (a) (210) [14]

In 1992 the second day was washed-out and the event reduced to 54 holes. In 1990 Alfredsson won with a par at the fourth extra hole. In 1988 Dibnah won with a birdie at the second extra hole. The 1984 tournament was co-sanctioned by the LET and LPGA Tour. Prize money for this event was in US dollars; £ values here are based on an exchange rate of $1.25=£1. The 1977 event was decided on "countback". Saunders won the title because she had a better last round; 76 to Everard's 79.
(a) denotes amateur

Major champions by nationality[edit]

This table lists the total number of titles won by golfers of each nationality as an LPGA major (2001–present).

Nationality Number
of wins
 South Korea 5
 United States 3
 Taiwan 2
 Australia 1
 England 1
 Mexico 1
 Scotland 1
 Sweden 1
 Thailand 1

Future sites[edit]

Year Edition Course Location Dates Previously hosted
2017 41st Kingsbarns Golf Links Fife, Scotland 3–6 August Never
2018 42nd Royal Lytham & St Annes Golf Club Lancashire, England August TBA 1998, 2003, 2006, 2009


External links[edit]