The PGA Championship will have a sister.
The KPMG Women’s PGA Championship is coming to the LPGA as a major championship beginning in 2015, LPGA commissioner Mike Whan and PGA of America CEO Pete Bevacqua told Golf Channel’s “Morning Drive” on Thursday.
No, it won’t be the LPGA’s sixth major. Instead, the KPMG Women’s PGA Championship will pick up the mantle of the LPGA Championship, continuing that major’s tradition with the PGA of America now running the event in collaboration with the LPGA.
“We’re going to evolve the LPGA Championship, a women’s major that’s been with us for more than 60 years, into a new era if you will,” Whan said on “Morning Drive.”
The KPMG Women’s PGA Championship won’t be played exclusively in Rochester, N.Y., as the Wegmans LPGA Championship has. Like the PGA Championship, the Women’s PGA Championship will rotate to elite venues in major metropolitan markets around the country, with its debut planned next year (June 11-14) at Westchester Country Club in Rye, N.Y. With its elevated status, the Women’s PGA Championship will get a giant bump in its purse, with total prize money going to $3.5 million, up from the LPGA Championship’s $2.25 million payday this year. That purse would be the biggest in women’s golf, but the U.S. Women’s Open is expected to announce its $3.25 million purse will be bumped to $4 million at Pinehurst next month.
The event will also gain network TV coverage, with NBC televising weekend play and Golf Channel covering the early rounds.
“It’s so exciting to me as a player, to see how far we’ve come in just a few years,” said Stacy Lewis, the Rolex world No. 2 ranked player, who has an endorsement contract with KPMG. “This event has a lot of things I’ve said the tour has needed for a long time. We needed the big purses at big venues on network TV and a big partner with KPMG. It’s really a home run from the players’ side. I think it only gets better from here. This is only the beginning.”
The Women’s PGA Championship was conceived as more than a golf tournament, with a mission focused on the empowerment and advancement of women inside and outside of golf. A women’s leadership summit and charitable initiative aimed at inspiring and developing new generations of women is part of the event’s new grand plan.
“This is going to be a major championship but it’s also going to be a celebration of the women’s game and, quite honestly, women in business,” Bevacqua said.
This summer’s Wegmans LPGA Championship is scheduled to be played Aug. 14-17 in Pittsford, N.Y., with a move from Locust Hill Country Club to nearby Monroe Golf Club. It appears that will end a long tradition in the Rochester area, where the LPGA has been a staple for 38 years.
The Women’s PGA Championship field will include women’s PGA and LPGA club pros.