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The Growth of the LPGA

The Ladies Professional Golf Association (LPGA) is the oldest women's professional sports organization in the world. It was founded in 1950 by a group of 13 women who were determined to create opportunities for women in professional golf. Since then, the LPGA has grown and evolved, becoming a global organization that features some of the world's best female golfers.

In the early years of the LPGA, women's professional golf was a niche sport, with few tournaments and even fewer opportunities for players to earn a living. The LPGA's first tournament was held in 1950, and it featured a purse of just $2,500. Over the next few years, the LPGA continued to grow, with new tournaments being added to the schedule and more players joining the tour.

The 1960s and 1970s were a time of significant growth for the LPGA. The tour expanded to include events in Europe, Asia, and Australia, and the purse sizes for tournaments increased dramatically. During this time, some of the most famous names in women's golf emerged, including Kathy Whitworth, Mickey Wright, and Nancy Lopez.

The 1980s and 1990s saw the LPGA continue to expand, with more tournaments being added to the schedule and the tour gaining greater recognition and respect. During the 1990s, the LPGA enjoyed some of its greatest moments, with stars like Annika Sorenstam, Karrie Webb, and Se Ri Pak dominating the tour.

Today, the LPGA is a truly global organization, with tournaments held all over the world and players from more than 30 countries competing on the tour. The organization continues to promote women's golf and to provide opportunities for talented players to showcase their skills and earn a living playing the sport they love.

Some key facts about the LPGA include:

  • The LPGA was founded in 1950 by 13 women, including Babe Zaharias, Louise Suggs, and Patty Berg.
  • The LPGA's first tournament had a purse of just $2,500, and the winner, Beverly Hanson, earned $500 for her victory.
  • The LPGA's first major championship, the U.S. Women's Open, was held in 1953 and was won by Betsy Rawls.
  • Kathy Whitworth holds the record for the most LPGA Tour wins, with 88 victories over the course of her career.
  • Annika Sorenstam is one of the most successful players in LPGA history, with 72 career wins, including 10 majors.
  • In 2019, the LPGA's total prize money for the season exceeded $70 million, with the winner of the CME Group Tour Championship taking home $1.5 million.
  • The LPGA has a strong commitment to philanthropy and has donated more than $250 million to charitable causes since its inception.

In conclusion 

The development of the LPGA over the years has been remarkable, with the organization growing from a small group of women who wanted to create opportunities for female golfers to a global tour that features some of the best players in the world. Today, the LPGA is a vital part of the golfing landscape, providing talented players with the chance to earn a living doing what they love and inspiring young women around the world to pursue their dreams. With its rich history and commitment to excellence, the LPGA is sure to continue to thrive in the years to come.