The prize pot for the AIG Women’s British Open later this month has been increased by almost 40 per cent to $4.5 million as part of the R&A’s ongoing commitment to the ladies’ game.
The significant rise will see the winner at Woburn on 1-4 August pick up $675,000 compared to $490,000, which was Georgia Hall’s prize for coming out on top on home soil at Royal Lytham last year.
“We recognised 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 chief executive Martin Slumbers.
“This is an important first step and we know it will take time to move closer to achieving parity with the men’s game.
“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 US Women’s Open carries the biggest prize of $5.5m, but the AIG Women’s British Open is now worth more than both KPMG Women’s Championship ($3.85m) and the Evian Championship ($4.1m).
Speaking as the announcement was made, Solheim Cup captain Catriona Matthew welcomed the increased exposure for women’s sport in general since she started out in the professional ranks 25 years ago.
“In the last 10 or 12 years, you can definitely see a change,” she said. “I loved watching the (football) World Cup, I saw a lot of those games, and it’s a sign of more women’s sport being seen on TV.
“They are beginning to show more of the LPGA golf on television and the more people see it the more they realise how good it is. The more you see it on TV the more likely you are to go to an event and then you will realise how good the players are.”