This week, 156 female golfers will take part June 23-26 in the KPMG PGA Women’s Championship at the newly renovated Congressional Country Club Blue Course in Bethesda, Maryland. The season’s third Major will feature 99 of the world’s top 100 golfers, including reigning champion Nelly Korda and world No. 1 Jin Yong Ko, as well as nine LPGA/PGA teaching pros who qualified for the course in Congress after their PGA Championship finishes. among women in stroke play.
On Tuesday, it was announced that the prize pool for the 2022 KPMG PGA Women’s Championship is doubling to $9 million. Thanks to the increase in wallets and the rise of the grounds, the Championship has become one of the most anticipated major events of the season. Here are five things to see this week as women make history just a few miles from the US Capitol:
Game development, wallet doubling
Two days before the top women golfers converge at the Congressional Country Club, PGA of America, KPMG and the LPGA Tour announced that the third major tournament of the year was doubling its fee from $4.5 million to $9 million. The winner’s share doubles from $675,000 to $1.35 million. The KPMG wallet has grown 300 percent from $2.25 million in 2014.
A few weeks ago, top golfers competed for a record $10 million prize pool at the US Women’s Open. Over the next five years, the US Women’s Open purse will increase to $12 million. The 2021 AIG Women’s Open made history with $5.8 million in prize money, and this year it has increased to $6.8 million. And if this week’s large wallet increase is any indicator, times are changing for the women’s game – one increased wallet at a time.
“This is a very important day for the LPGA, women’s golf and women’s sports,” LPGA Commissioner Molly Marcu Samaan said in a statement. “We look forward to working with KPMG and PGA of America to continue using our platform to empower young women and inspire positive change in the world.”
Want to start the hype at the start of the big week? Just pair up with former champions, sit back and watch in amazement.
Starting at 7:33 am EST Thursday, 2016 winner Brooke Henderson, three-time PGA KPMG Women’s Champion Inby Park and defending champion Nelly Korda will face off. “An amazing feeling,” Korda says of being in a group with Henderson and Pak. “I played with Brooke the first two days of last week, so we’ll have a lot to talk about again.” The group will also play another match on Friday at 12:50 because once with this group is simply not enough.
Starting at 12:50 pm EST on Thursday afternoon, championship pairings continue with 2022 US Women’s Open winner Minji Lee playing alongside former KPMG PGA Women’s Championship winners Anna Nordqvist. Soon after, Lidia Ko, Korda and Aria Yutanugrn will start. Women will remain in the same groups for the first two rounds.
Returning champion Nelly Korda relies on a good attitude
In March, former world No. 1 and Olympic gold medalist Korda had a blood clot in her left arm. Shortly thereafter, the 23-year-old announced that she had undergone surgery for a blood clot in her left subclavian vein. The pressing question of when she would return to competitive golf and how she would perform has dragged on.
Earlier this month, Korda put those questions to rest by returning to golf at the US Women’s Open at the Pine Needles in Southern Pines, North Carolina. Although Korda finished in 8th place, she looked better than ever. Then, last weekend at the Meijer LPGA Classic, she reminded golf fans that she was back with a second-place finish.
“I made sure I was 100 percent ready before going back and even just hitting the golf ball,” says Korda. “Ever since I started hitting, it’s been kind of in full swing… If you told me that when I was in the emergency room, I would definitely be very happy.”
This week, Korda is looking to repeat her first major success at last year’s KPMG Women’s PGA Championship.
“The more you like it there, the better you play, the less annoying you are, the less things go wrong,” says Korda. “Since I’ve been back I’ve made sure I have a good attitude and I’ve enjoyed every second and I think that’s contributed to my good game.”
Newly renovated host site means new challenges
The best female golfers in the world will take part in the first major championship at the Congressional Country Club, home of not only the US Open and PGA Championships, but also various PGA Tour tournaments.
And this is the first time the championship has been held on the recently restored blue field in Congress. The last major tournament on the course was the 2011 US Open when Rory McIlroy took home the trophy.
Over the course of 20 months, golf course architect Andrew Green has been transforming the historic Bethesda course by removing many trees, widening fairways, rebuilding greens, and increasing potential obstacles for players.
“It’s just slopes and fairways,” says LPGA veteran Stacey Lewis. “Keeping the ball on the grass, slopes on the grass. Lots of different tasks. It’s not just one thing.”
No pressure in the big chase for Minji Lee
Competing in major tournaments, Minji Lee doesn’t let the pressure get the better of her. Instead, she leans on him. She built up her confidence in the ultra-competitive game over the years.
Her self-confidence helped her win her first major at the 2021 Evian Championships and her second major at the US Women’s Open in early June. Her unwavering faith in her training and abilities has led the Australian to win eight times on the LPGA tour, including two major tournaments.
“I love taking on a challenge, and I think the harder the golf courses get, the better I play,” Lee says. “When I play under pressure, I also do well. I think it sets up really well.”
Lee is currently ranked 3rd in the Rolex World Rankings. Lee enters the game this week fresh from her historic run at the Pine Needles, where she set an all-time 72-hole hitting record of 271. The KPMG Women’s PGA Championship has been a constant motivator.
“Two Majors in one season is just beyond my dreams,” says Lee. “A good game can lead to a win or a rivalry, so I think I’ll just focus on that. If I really won, my dream would come true.”