The 2019 AIG Women's British Open prize money will increase nearly 40 percent from 2018, with the R&A announcing an increase of $1.25 million in the total purse.
This year's final major will now have a purse of $4.5 million, with the first-place payout of $675,000. The AIG Women's British Open purse now on trails that of the US Women's Open, at $5.5 million, among the five LPGA-recognized majors.
“We recognized that more needed to be done to elevate the prize fund for this great championship and are pleased that we have been able to make a significant increase this year as part of The R&A’s commitment to women’s golf," said R&A chief executive Martin Slumbers.
The R&A took over the championship from the Ladies Golf Union, which founded the event in 1976, and the Women's British Open became a major in 2001. Wins before 2001 have not yet been retroactively granted LPGA major recognition.
The R&A hopes this will be a down payment of sorts in getting closer to equal purses in majors between the four majors sanctioned by the PGA Tour and European Tour and the five women's majors. The move follows the USGA's $500,000 increase in 2019 US Women's Open prize money, paying $1 million to the winner for the first time. The $4.5 million Women's British Open purse still pales in comparison to the current $10.75 million 2019 British Open purse.
“This is an important first step and we know it will take time to move closer to achieving parity with the men’s game," Slumbers said. "We will continue to work toward the long-term goal of a sustainable business model but we can’t do it alone and the support of fans, sponsors and media are all key to achieving that success.”
The announcement comes weeks before the first staging of the championship with AIG as the title sponsor, part of a five-year deal as the insurance and financial giant takes over the title sponsorship from Ricoh, which remains a key sponsor of the event won last year by Georgia Hall at Royal Birkdale.
The 2019 AIG Women's British Open will be played Aug. 1-4, coming to Woburn Golf Club in England for the 11th time and the second time on the club's Marquess Course.