How The Largest Purse In Women's Golf Has Grown Over The Years

The US Women's Open announced a record-setting purse for the 2024 championship - a dramatic increase from only a handful of years ago

Alisen Corpuz with the US Women's Open trophy
(Image credit: Getty Images)

The 2024 US Women's Open at Lancaster Country Club in Pennsylvania will feature the largest prize purse ever seen in women's professional golf at $12 million. 

That's an increase of exactly $1 million from the 2023 championship when winner Allisen Corpuz banked $2 million in what was then the richest prize pot anywhere in women's pro golf.

For context, the prize money at this year's second women's Major is $4.1m higher than the $7.9m offered by the first women's Major this season, the Chevron Championship, from which winner Nelly Korda earned $1.185m.

A significant reason behind the latest cash boost was February's announcement that the USGA and Ally Financial had entered into a partnership which would aim to support the women's game.

At the time, USGA CEO Mike Whan said: “Partnering with Ally allows us to not only continue elevating the US Women’s Open, but to also further our commitment to the future of the game via our US National Development Program.”

Yuka Saso with the US Women's Open trophy

19-year-old Yuka Saso with the US Women's Open trophy in 2021

(Image credit: Getty Images)

The largest leap in US Women's Open prize funds arrived between 2021 and 2022, though, after the USGA brought presenting sponsor ProMedica on board and the company provided the necessary funds to go from $5.5 million to a cool $10 million in terms of total prize purse. When Yuka Saso won in 2021, she received a check for $1 million. In 2022, Mina Harigae was awarded $1,080,000 for finishing second.

The 2024 fund is three times the size of its 2014 version, when Michelle Wie claimed $720,000 alongside her sole Major title at Pinehurst No.2.

Meanwhile, In Gee Chun's champion check from a total pot of $4.5 million a year later - the last time Lancaster Country Club hosted a US Women's Open - was $810,000.

Going back even further, and the prize fund in 2004 was $3.1 million, sharing $560,000 with the champion. The first time the cumulative prize fund was set at seven figures did not arrive until 1995 and Annika Sorenstam's first of three US Women's Open titles. The legendary Swede picked up a check for $175,000 after her debut victory and $212,500 when she defender her crown the following year.

Going back all the way to the beginning, the very first US Women's Open prize fund in 1946 was something of an anomaly in that the overall pot was $19,700 and the winner of what was then a match play tournament earned $5,600.

Once the championship began its long stroke play chapter in 1947, the overall money dropped to $7,500 and the victor claimed just $1,200. It would not recover to over $20,000 until 1966 - two decades later.

The early-1970s saw the total prize fund reach $40,000 for the first time - with $6,000 going to the triumphant golfer - and in 1978 it rose into six figures at exactly $100,000 ($15,000 for the winner).

Before Sorenstam began picking up US Women's Open titles in the 1990s, the previous decade featured a total prize fund of $200,000, $300,000, and eventually $400,000. 1991 was the first year that the champion earned a six-figure prize ($110,000) as the overall pot tallied at $600,000.

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US Women's Open Prize Fund Through The Years
YearTotal Prize PurseWinner's Share
1946 (First US Open)$19,700$5,600
Jonny Leighfield
Staff Writer

Jonny Leighfield is our Staff News Writer who joined Golf Monthly just in time for the 2023 Solheim Cup and Ryder Cup. He graduated from the University of Brighton with a degree in Sport Journalism in 2017 and spent almost five years as the sole sports reporter at his local newspaper. An improving golfer who still classes himself as ‘one of the worst players on the Golf Monthly team’, Jonny enjoys playing as much as he can and is hoping to reach his Handicap goal of 18 at some stage. He attended both the 150th and 151st Opens and is keen to make it an annual pilgrimage.