Defending champion Nelly Korda and a strong British contingent will play for a record $9m (£7.3m) purse at this week’s Women’s PGA Championship after organisers doubled its prize money.
The winner of this year’s major, which tees off on Thursday in Bethesda, Maryland, will collect $1.35m (£1.1m).
It is a 300% purse increase since 2014, the year before sponsors KPMG joined.
PGA of America president Jim Richerson said it was part of “a desire to elevate women’s golf”.
“We really wanted to make sure we utilised this event to showcase the best women’s players in the game and do that with one of the biggest purses,” he said.
Prize money for the five women’s majors now stands at a total of $37.3m (£30.4m), up from $13.75m (£11.2m) in 2012.
“I sent an email out a little bit before the announcement to the players, and I haven’t had a chance to go through all of my emails, but I’ve looked at a few of them and they have been hysterical,” said LPGA commissioner Mollie Marcoux Samaan.
“There have been been some ‘holy you know what’ and ‘oh, my God’. And then someone else said that the news hit while the players were in dining, and all of a sudden they all scurried out to the range. That was the joke in dining.”
England’s Georgia Hall, Jodi Ewart Shadoff, Bronte Law, Charley Hull, Charlotte Thomas and Mel Reid will compete at Congressional Country Club, as will Scotland’s Gemma Dryburgh and Northern Ireland’s Stephanie Meadow.
‘I’m just happy to be out here’
Last year’s winner Korda only made her competitive return to golf at the US Women’s Open earlier in June after recovering from a blood clot.
American Korda, 23, was diagnosed with a clot in her left arm in March after swelling occurred following a workout, and had surgery in April to remove it.
Last week, she lost a three-way playoff against compatriot and eventual winner Jennifer Kupcho and Ireland’s Leona Maguire at the Meijer LPGA Classic.
“I gave myself a chance last week,” said Korda. “If you told me that when I was laying in the ER, I would have definitely been very happy with that.”
Speaking of her post-surgery lay-off, she added: “That was the longest time I think I’ve ever gone without hitting a golf ball.
“Since I started hitting, it’s just been kind of full throttle, and I have been practising pretty much.
“I have not taken more than two or three days off since then. I’m just happy to be out here playing competitive golf.”
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