Women's_major_golf_championships

Women's major golf championships

Women's golf has evolved a set of major championships which parallels that in men's golf, but the women's system is younger and has been less stable than the men's. Many professional stroke play events for women are played over three rounds (54 holes), but the majors are played over four rounds (72 holes), which is the standard length of regular men's tournaments. This is the same distinction as for senior men's tournaments.

LPGA majors

Current position

The LPGA's list of majors has changed several times over the years, with the last change in 2001, after 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 lower profile (although its winner receives an automatic berth in the LPGA season championship). The LPGA replaced the du Maurier Classic on its list of majors with the Women's British Open. The LPGA currently recognizes four majors. In the order in which they are played each year these are:

As in men's golf, three of the majors are played in the United States and one is played in the United Kingdom. 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. Unlike the men's equivalents, with the sole exception of the U.S. Women's Open, the women's majors have title sponsors.

The winners of the four women's majors receive automatic entry to the LPGA's season championship, the LPGA Playoffs at The ADT. The Champions Tour has no season-ending championship. 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 144 in points and qualifying for the FedEx Cup playoffs.

History

Seven different events are classified as having been LPGA majors at some time. The number in each season has fluctuated between two and four. The first tournament which is now included in the LPGA's official list of major victories is the 1930 Western Open, although this is a retrospective designation as the LPGA was not founded until 1950.

LPGA major winners

The first table shows the four current majors in the order in which they are played each year. The two tables for the earlier periods do not necessarily show the tournaments in the order in which they were played.
Year Kraft Nabisco Championship LPGA Championship U.S. Women's Open Women's British Open
2008 Lorena Ochoa Yani Tseng Inbee Park Ji-Yai Shin
2007 Morgan Pressel Suzann Pettersen Cristie Kerr Lorena Ochoa
2006 Karrie Webb Se Ri Pak Annika Sörenstam Sherri Steinhauer
2005 Annika Sörenstam Annika Sörenstam Birdie Kim Jeong Jang
2004 Grace Park Annika Sörenstam Meg Mallon Karen Stupples
2003 Patricia Meunier-Lebouc Annika Sörenstam Hilary Lunke Annika Sörenstam
2002 Annika Sörenstam Se Ri Pak Juli Inkster Karrie Webb
2001 Annika Sörenstam Karrie Webb Karrie Webb Se Ri Pak

Year Kraft Nabisco Championship LPGA Championship U.S. Women's Open du Maurier Classic
2000 Karrie Webb Juli Inkster Karrie Webb Meg Mallon
1999 Dottie Pepper Juli Inkster Juli Inkster Karrie Webb
1998 Pat Hurst Se Ri Pak Se Ri Pak Brandie Burton
1997 Betsy King Christa Johnson Alison Nicholas Colleen Walker
1996 Patty Sheehan Laura Davies Annika Sörenstam Laura Davies
1995 Nanci Bowen Kelly Robbins Annika Sörenstam Jenny Lidback
1994 Donna Andrews Laura Davies Patty Sheehan Martha Nause
1993 Helen Alfredsson Patty Sheehan Lauri Merten Brandie Burton
1992 Dottie Mochrie Betsy King Patty Sheehan Sherri Steinhauer
1991 Amy Alcott Meg Mallon Meg Mallon Nancy Scranton
1990 Betsy King Beth Daniel Betsy King Cathy Johnston-Forbes
1989 Juli Inkster Nancy Lopez Betsy King Tammie Green
1988 Amy Alcott Sherri Turner Liselotte Neumann Sally Little
1987 Betsy King Jane Geddes Laura Davies Jody Rosenthal
1986 Pat Bradley Pat Bradley Jane Geddes Pat Bradley
1985 Alice Miller Nancy Lopez Kathy Baker Pat Bradley
1984 Juli Inkster Patty Sheehan Hollis Stacy Juli Inkster
1983 Amy Alcott Patty Sheehan Jan Stephenson Hollis Stacy
1982 Not yet a major Jan Stephenson Janet Anderson Sandra Haynie
1981 Not yet a major Donna Caponi Pat Bradley Jan Stephenson
1980 Not yet a major Sally Little Amy Alcott Pat Bradley
1979 Not yet a major Donna Caponi Jerilyn Britz Amy Alcott
1978 Not yet a major Nancy Lopez Hollis Stacy Not yet a major
1977 Not yet a major Chako Higuchi Hollis Stacy Not yet a major
1976 Not yet a major Betty Burfeindt JoAnne Carner Not yet a major
1975 Not yet a major Kathy Whitworth Sandra Palmer Not yet a major
1974 Not yet a major Sandra Haynie Sandra Haynie Not yet a major
1973 Not yet a major Mary Mills Susie Berning Not yet a major

Year Women's Western Open LPGA Championship U.S. Women's Open Titleholders Championship
1972 Ceased Kathy Ahern Susie Berning Sandra Palmer
1971 Ceased Kathy Whitworth JoAnne Carner No tournament
1970 Ceased Shirley Englehorn Donna Caponi No tournament
1969 Ceased Betsy Rawls Donna Caponi No tournament
1968 Ceased Sandra Post Susie Berning No tournament
1967 Kathy Whitworth Kathy Whitworth Catherine Lacoste No tournament
1966 Mickey Wright Gloria Ehret Sandra Spuzich Kathy Whitworth
1965 Susie Maxwell Sandra Haynie Carol Mann Kathy Whitworth
1964 Carol Mann Mary Mills Mickey Wright Marilynn Smith
1963 Mickey Wright Mickey Wright Mary Mills Marilynn Smith
1962 Mickey Wright Judy Kimball Murle Lindstrom Mickey Wright
1961 Mary Lena Faulk Mickey Wright Mickey Wright Mickey Wright
1960 Joyce Ziske Mickey Wright Betsy Rawls Fay Crocker
1959 Betsy Rawls Betsy Rawls Mickey Wright Louise Suggs
1958 Patty Berg Mickey Wright Mickey Wright Beverly Hanson
1957 Patty Berg Louise Suggs Betsy Rawls Patty Berg
1956 Beverly Hanson Marlene Hagge Kathy Cornelius Louise Suggs
1955 Patty Berg Beverly Hanson Fay Crocker Patty Berg
1954 Betty Jameson Not yet founded Babe Zaharias Louise Suggs
1953 Louise Suggs Not yet founded Betsy Rawls Patty Berg
1952 Betsy Rawls Not yet founded Louise Suggs Babe Zaharias
1951 Patty Berg Not yet founded Betsy Rawls Pat O'Sullivan
1950 Babe Zaharias Not yet founded Babe Zaharias Babe Zaharias
1949 Louise Suggs Not yet founded Louise Suggs Peggy Kirk
1948 Patty Berg Not yet founded Babe Zaharias Patty Berg
1947 Louise Suggs Not yet founded Betty Jameson Babe Zaharias
1946 Louise Suggs Not yet founded Patty Berg Louise Suggs
1945 Babe Zaharias Not yet founded Not yet founded No tournament (World War II)
1944 Babe Zaharias Not yet founded Not yet founded No tournament (World War II)
1943 Patty Berg Not yet founded Not yet founded No tournament (World War II)
1942 Betty Jameson Not yet founded Not yet founded Dorothy Kirby
1941 Patty Berg Not yet founded Not yet founded Dorothy Kirby
1940 Babe Zaharias Not yet founded Not yet founded Betty Hicks
1939 Helen Dettweiler Not yet founded Not yet founded Patty Berg
1938 Bea Barrett Not yet founded Not yet founded Patty Berg
1937 Betty Hicks Not yet founded Not yet founded Patty Berg
1936 Opal Hill Not yet founded Not yet founded Not yet founded
1935 Opal Hill Not yet founded Not yet founded Not yet founded
1934 Marian McDougall Not yet founded Not yet founded Not yet founded
1933 June Beebe Not yet founded Not yet founded Not yet founded
1932 Jane Weiller Not yet founded Not yet founded Not yet founded
1931 June Beebe Not yet founded Not yet founded Not yet founded
1930 Mrs. Lee Mida Not yet founded Not yet founded Not yet founded

The "Grand Slam"

No woman has completed a four-major Grand Slam, but Babe Zaharias won all three majors contested in 1950 and Sandra Haynie won both majors in 1974.

Six women have completed a "Career Grand Slam" by winning four different majors. 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. To win the Super Career Grand Slam, a golfer must have won:

  • 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 currently existing majors.

Webb won the du Maurier Classic in 1999 and the Women's British Open in 2002.

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 Rankings, 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, 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, states 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 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 does not recognize the Evian Masters as a major, it co-sanctions the tournament as a regular tour event. Since it is played the week before the Women's British Open, and its winner earns an automatic spot in the season-ending LPGA Playoffs at The ADT, virtually all top LPGA players play the Evian Masters.

The LPGA of Japan Tour, which is the second richest women's golf tour, has its own set of three majors: the Japan Open, the JLPGA Championship and the JLPGA Tour Championship. However, these events attract little notice outside Japan.

Futures Tour

Since 2006, the Futures Tour, the LPGA's developmental tour, has designated the Michelob Ultra Futures Charity Golf Classic, an event which has been held since 1985, as a major championship. It was the Tour's first $100,000 purse. The idea of having a "major" on a developmental tour is a new one, driven by marketing, and it is unlikely to have much impact on the conventional definition of a women's major.

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

See also

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