What is the LPGA Tour's 1-in-4 Rule, and why does it exist?

What is the LPGA Tour’s 1-in-4 Rule, and why does it exist?

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The LPGA Tour has a unique rule which requires its players to compete in practically every tournament on the schedule, and it's designed to make sure most every stop sees their star players in action.

The LPGA Tour 1-in-4 Rule was created in the early 2000s with the intent of guaranteeing tournaments and sponsors that they would see the LPGA Tour's best players compete at their tounaments. In an era when Tiger Woods had a schedule that was largely set in stone and had an impact on PGA Tour ticket sales, the LPGA Tour wanted to avoid similar issues with the likes of Annika Sorenstam and Karrie Webb.

The One-in-Rule Rule states that a player must compete in each U.S.-based LPGA Tour event once every four years, on a rolling basis. If a player violates the One-in-Four Rule, they are subject to a $25,000 fine. If they don't then compete in those missing tournaments in the next two years, the fine is increased to $35,000.

This rule only applies to LPGA Tour events held in the United States. Former commissioner Mike Whan had extended the rule to include all events on the schedule but reverted back to the domestic-only policy in 2016. The change was made because the LPGA Tour has different infrastructure for overseas tournaments, including no child-care option or physio on site. Players may also deal with travel restrictions to foreign countries.

A player has the right to apply a one-time exemption to absolve themselves of a potential fine for violating the rule.

A veteran player is also no longer subject to the 1-in-4 Rule starting in the season after they reach 230 LPGA Tour starts.

This rule is largely responsible for the consistency of great fields on the LPGA Tour schedule, and it could become increasingly important as more money comes into the sport.

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