The R&A has announced a huge increase in the prize pool of the AIG Women's Open for both 2021 and 2022, setting the bar for purses in women's golf and pushing closer toward parity with the four men's majors.
For the 2021 AIG Women's Open, the prize pool has been increased $1.3 million from last year to $5.8 million at Carnoustie.
The increase means the AIG Women's Open now has the largest purse in women's championship golf, surpassing the $5.5 million purse at the US Women's Open, presented by the USGA. The $1 million US Women's Open winner's check will remain the largest in women's major championship golf, however, as the first-place prize money at the 2021 AIG Women's Open will be $870,000. The largest first-prize payout in women's golf is the $1.5 million for winning the LPGA Tour's season-ending CME Group Tour Championship.
In 2022, the AIG Women's Open prize pool will further increase another $1 million to $6.8 million, increasing the first-place payout to $1,050,000.
“We are absolutely committed to elevating the AIG Women’s Open and enhancing its status as one of golf’s premier championships," said Martin Slumbers, Chief Executive of the R&A. "With our partners at AIG, we are taking action to make change happen and sending out a strong signal that more needs to be done by everyone involved to grow women’s golf. It needs greater investment and support from golf bodies, sponsors, the media and fans to help us grow the game’s commercial success and generate the income and revenues necessary to make prize fund growth viable and sustainable.
“We have set a new benchmark for prize money in women’s major championship golf this week and, thanks to AIG, will build on it still further next year. We hope this will inspire other events to follow our lead and help us to take a collective leap forward for the women’s game.”
The challenge for the LPGA Tour will now be increasing week-to-week purses to bring them closer to the average of the biggest events. At $1.75 million as the average excluding the majors and the CME Group Tour Championship, there is a more than two-to-one ratio in average purses for the biggest events compared to non-major events.