LPGA raises profile with record prize money, diversity messaging
The LPGA’s 2019 season also brings some big shifts with record prize money, new tournament formats and a new branding approach that looks to raise the profile of the women’s circuit.
In addition, the winner of this year’s CME Group Tour Championship will earn a record $1.5 million with the total purse doubling to $5 million.
Another new format for the LPGA began in January with the Diamond Resorts Tournament of Champions that had LPGA winners paired with celebrities, athletes and musicians. The inaugural event kicked off the LPGA schedule and brought a fresh approach to the tour with the field limited to LPGA tournament winners over the past two years.
The changes in the game come with a new branding effort with the tagline of “Drive On” that emphasizes female empowerment. It replaces the “See Why It’s Different Out Here” slogan in place since 2011.
“The fastest-growing segment in golf is girls under the age of 16,” said LPGA Commissioner Mike Whan, adding that sponsors are increasingly looking to use the LPGA to tap into diversity and inclusion platforms.
>Notable within the diversity and inclusion efforts is the KPMG Women’s PGA Championship that includes a leadership summit as part of the event.
Whan said that talks with current and potential LPGA sponsors include similar programs. “Those things are mandatory in all the deals we are doing,” he said.