LPGA needs to right a wrong and give Sophia Popov a five-year exemption for Women's Open win
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LPGA needs to right a wrong and give Sophia Popov a five-year exemption for Women’s Open win



Sophia Popov winning the 2020 AIG Women's Open last week is probably the most inspiring story of the year in golf, and it might be the most inspiring individual performance in sports this year.

Ranked 304th in the Official World Golf Ranking at the outset of the tournament, the German-raised Popov had earned a spot in the championship when she was able to slip into the Marathon LPGA Classic -- a week after caddying for friend Anne van Dam in the season-resuming event -- because she had membership on the Symetra Tour, the LPGA's developmental circuit. Popov's T-9 finish got her into the two LPGA events in the UK, including the ASI Ladies Scottish Open, which she skipped to play a Symetra Tour event in Arizona where she finished runner-up.

After her amazing story unfolded on Sunday and culminated in an emotional breakthrough win, her first on the LPGA, Popov took her $675,000 winner's check, the trophy and the staggering attention that comes with winning a major. She also immediately took up LPGA membership.

Typically, winning an LPGA major comes with a five-year exemption. However, Popov learned she would only get a one-year exemption for her win. That's a wrong that needs to be fixed.

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Ryan Ballengee

Ryan Ballengee is founder and editor of Golf News Net. He has been writing and broadcasting about golf for over a decade, working for NBC Sports, Golf Channel, Yahoo Sports and SB Nation. Ballengee lives in the Washington, D.C. area with his family. He used to be a good golfer.

Ballengee can be reached by email at ryan[at]thegolfnewsnet.com

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