Simply put, it doesn’t get much bigger than the next 10 events on the LPGA Tour schedule.
Starting with next week’s KPMG Women’s PGA Championship – the second of five majors in 2015 – LPGA players will enter a stretch of events that will go a long way to determining season-ending awards and be a significant factor on the Rolex Women’s Golf World Rankings. The next 10 tournaments feature four major championships and nearly $25 million in prize money, roughly 40 percent of the Tour’s season total.
That is a massive chunk that will greatly influence virtually every important points race, from the Rolex Player of the Year Award, Rolex ANNIKA Major Award and Louise Suggs Rolex Rookie of the Year Award to the Race to the CME Globe, Solheim Cup standings and world standings. Those world standings will determine the lineups for the 2016 Olympic Summer Games in Rio, a new wrinkle that will ratchet up the intensity even more.
In addition to next week’s major, the U.S. Women’s Open (July 9-12), RICOH Women’s British Open (July 30-Aug. 2) and The Evian Championship (Sept. 10-13) also fall during this illustrious stretch of events, so the Tour’s full slate of majors will be complete by mid-September. The Rolex ANNIKA Major Award, given to the player who wins at least one major and collectively performs best in the four others, will be determined at the end of this magical run, just as the top U.S. and European players are heading to Germany for the 14th staging of the Solheim Cup Sept. 18-20.
Seven of the next 10 events have purses of at least $2 million, with four of those eclipsing the $3 million mark, so the LPGA money list could look quite different in just a few short months. With an average purse of $2.41 million, there is plenty of money just waiting to be claimed this summer.
In an illustration of just how deep the talent is on Tour, this stretch of events features 10 different defending champions, including world No. 1 Lydia Ko, second-ranked Inbee Park and two-time and reigning Rolex Player of the Year Stacy Lewis, who is No. 3 in the world. Add Michelle Wie defending her crown at the U.S. Women’s Open, and the next group of defending champs is even more impressive.
Luckily for Tour players, the 10-event stretch includes four off weeks that will enable the world’s best female professional golfers to catch their breath, rest and re-focus as the summer rolls along. This group of tournaments begins and ends on the LPGA’s television home, Golf Channel/NBC, so fans who follow the Tour on a regular basis will know exactly where to find their favorite players.
It’s going to be one heck of a run, and the LPGA Tour landscape could look quite a bit different come mid-September. Will there be a new world No. 1? A new star who has emerged from obscurity? A clear-cut favorite for the season-ending accolades?
The answers to those questions, and more, are about to begin to be answered, and it’s going to be great fun to watch.