AIG Women’s Open to feature record prize fund

THE AIG Women’s Open will feature a record $5.8-million prize fund with the winner earning $870,000, the R&A announced on Wednesday.

That represents a $1.3-million increase over last year’s prize fund for the event, which is the final of five majors on the LPGA and Ladies European tour calendars.

The largest prize fund in women’s golf will increase to at least $6.8 million in 2022, more than doubling the fund from just three years ago.

“We are absolutely committed to elevating the AIG Women’s Open and enhancing its status as one of golf’s premier Championships,” R&A Chief Executive Martin Slumbers said in a statement. “With our partners at AIG, we are taking action to make change happen and sending out a strong signal that more needs to be done by everyone involved to grow women’s golf.

“It needs greater investment and support from golf bodies, sponsors, the media and fans to help us grow the game’s commercial success and generate the income and revenues necessary to make prize fund growth viable and sustainable.”

The AIG Women’s Open begins Thursday at Carnoustie Golf Links in Scotland, with the 2022 event scheduled to be played at Muirfield.

“We have set a new benchmark for prize money in women’s major championship golf this week and, thanks to AIG, will build on it still further next year,” Slumbers said. “We hope this will inspire other events to follow our lead and help us to take a collective leap forward for the women’s game.”

England’s Georgia Hall won her first major as a rookie at the 2018 Women’s Open at Royal Lytham and St. Annes.

“It’s phenomenal and fantastic to hear that and that it’s actually happening,” Hall said of the increased prize fund. “Week-in, week-out, we want to play for big prize funds and it just recognizes what an amazing event this is.

“To me, it’s the biggest event in women’s golf, and it’s great news for all our players.”

Countrywoman Charley Hull is still seeking her first major title.

“I think it’s brilliant… Next year it’s going to go up to $6.8 (million),” said Hull, who is coming off a fifth-place finish at the Women’s Scottish Open. “I think it’s great. It’s getting a lot more recognition which is good. I think it deserves that.” — Reuters

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