The money that professional women golfers can earn is seemingly growing by the day. And not in small numbers.
On the heels of Tuesday’s announcement by the LPGA Tour that next year’s The Annika (formerly Pelican Ladies Championship) will offer a $3.5 million purse that will be the largest among non-Major events outside of the CME Group Tour Championship, the Ladies European Tour said its Aramco Saudi Ladies International next February will have a purse of $5 million. How big of a bump is that? The purse was $1 million this year.
The winner of the Aramco will receive $750,000 and the total purse is equal to that of the men’s PIF Saudi International on the Asian Tour.
“The increased purse for the Aramco Saudi Ladies International presented by PIF is a landmark moment for our tour, and for women’s sport globally,” LET chief executive Alexandra Armas said in a statement released on Wednesday.
Considering the prizemoney, it figures that many of the top international players would choose to enter the Saudi Ladies International, whose 120-player field will be comprised of LET golfers, those from the Rolex Rankings and sponsor exemptions. This past season, England’s Georgia Hall captured the title.
The 2023 edition of the tournament will be played from February 16-19 at Royal Greens Golf & Country Club in Saudi Arabia’s King Abdullah Economic City. The week after, the LPGA stages an event in Thailand.
Just as the Saudi-backed LIV Golf circuit has been criticised on the men’s side of the game, Aramco and Saudi Arabia’s involvement in women’s golf has been scrutinised because of the kingdom’s documented human rights abuses.
Aramco is the official oil company of Saudi Arabia and beyond sponsoring the Saudi Ladies International, it also holds the LET’s five-event Aramco Team Series. American stars Lexi Thompson and Nelly Korda were among the winners of those events this season.