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Saturday, May 18, 2024

Women’s Golf Has Five—Not Four—Majors, and That’s a Good Thing

  • The Chevron Championship, the first women’s major of the year, begins Thursday.
  • Since 2013, the sport has played five, not four, major championships.
Sarasota Herald-Tribune

The Masters is over but there’s already another major championship about to tee off. The best golfers in the women’s game are gathering just outside Houston for the Chevron Championship, which starts Thursday morning and is the first of the sport’s five annual major championships.

Yes, five, not the four that the men’s game plays. Why? Let’s take a look.

Major Feel

What makes a tournament a major championship? World rankings points and money. Winning a major earns a golfer 100 points, while no other event on the LPGA Tour, or any other circuit, hands out more than 62 to its champion. Pending any further increases, the five majors will award a combined $45.4 million to its participants; that’s almost 37% of the LPGA’s $123.25 million total prize pot currently planned in 2024.

This year, the order of the majors is:

  • The Chevron Championship, April 18-21 
  • U.S. Women’s Open, May 30-June 2 
  • Women’s PGA Championship, June 20-23
  • The Evian Championship, July 11-14 
  • Women’s Open, Aug. 15-18

The More the Merrier

In 2013, the Evian Championship was added as the fifth major in women’s golf. While some purists would argue that’s one too many, it actually has brought a welcomed synergy to the sport. Since then, the women’s game has become a little more unified with the men’s and continues to see more financial investments.

Each of the top five stakeholders in women’s golf is closely aligned with one of the majors: LPGA (Chevron), USGA (U.S. Women’s Open), PGA of America (Women’s PGA Championship), Ladies European Tour (Evian), and the R&A (Women’s Open). The USGA, PGA of America, and R&A, in particular, are taking more women’s majors to courses traditionally reserved for their men’s championships, like Pebble Beach, Baltusrol, and St Andrews.

Notably, there is no women’s professional tournament played at Augusta National, home of the most popular men’s major. Ahead of the Masters, club chairman Fred Ridley effectively shot down the idea of holding a women’s Masters, saying it would be “very difficult” to hold another annual tournament in addition to the Masters and the Augusta National Women’s Amateur. 

How About Five in a Row?

Nelly Korda (above), the No. 1-ranked women’s golfer, comes into the first major of the year having won her last four starts. (That’s an even hotter streak than Masters champ Scottie Scheffler is on.) If the 25-year-old American wins this week, she’ll pocket $1.2 million—the same amount she’s made from her four wins this year combined. Now, that’s major.

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