The LPGA, in full the Ladies Professional Golf Association, is an American organization for female professional golfers. The organization, whose headquarters are in Daytona Beach, Florida, is best known for running the LPGA Tour, a series of weekly golf tournaments for elite female golfers from around the world that runs from February to December each year. In 2008, prize money on the LPGA Tour exceeds $58 million.

Other "LPGA"s exist in other countries, each with a geographical designation in its name, but the U.S. organization is the largest and best known. The LPGA is also an organization for female club and teaching professionals. This is different from the PGA Tour, which runs the main professional tours in the U.S. and, since 1968, has been independent of the club and teaching professionals' organization, the PGA of America.

The LPGA was founded in 1950 by a group of 13 women, including Babe Didrikson Zaharias. It is now the oldest ongoing women's professional sports organization in the United States. cite web
last = The Golf Channel
first =
title = LPGA Tour: History
publisher = Thegolfchannel.com
date = 2000
url = http://www.thegolfchannel.com/core.aspx?page=17104&dv=3092752&select=2069
accessdate = 2007-04-08
] cite web
last = LPGA
first =
title = About the LPGA
publisher = lpga.com
date = 2007
url = http://www.lpga.com/content_1.aspx?mid=0&pid=52
accessdate = 2007-04-08
] Carolyn Bivens is the current LPGA Commissioner.

LPGA Tour tournaments

Most of the LPGA Tour's events are held in the United States. In 2008, three tournaments will be held in Mexico and one each in Singapore, Canada, France, the United Kingdom, China, South Korea, and Japan. Four of the tournaments held outside North America are co-sanctioned with other professional tours. The Ladies European Tour co-sanctions the Evian Masters in France and the Women's British Open, held the following week. The other two co-sanctioned events—the Korea Championship (LPGA of Korea Tour) and Mizuno Classic (LPGA of Japan Tour)—are held in successive autumn weeks in Asia. This Asian swing formerly included a tournament in Thailand, but that event was dropped for 2008 and replaced with a new tournament in China.

The LPGA's annual major championships are:
*Kraft Nabisco Championship
*McDonald's U.S. LPGA Championship Presented by Coca-Cola
*U.S. Women's Open
*Ricoh Women's British Open (held in cooperation with Ladies European Tour)

International presence

In its early decades, the LPGA Tour was dominated by American players. Sandra Post of Canada became the first player living outside the United States to gain an LPGA tour card in 1968. The non-U.S. contingent is now very large. The last time an American player topped the money list was in 1993, the last time an American led the tour in tournaments won was in 1996, and from 2000 through 2008, non-Americans won 28 of 36 major championships. In 2008, there are 121 non-Americans from 26 countries, including 45 from South Korea, 15 from Sweden, 11 from Australia, nine from the United Kingdom (four each from England and Scotland and one from Wales), six from Canada, five from Taiwan, and four from Germany. [cite press release|url=http://www.lpga.com/content/2008InternationalPlayers.pdf |title=LPGA Information: 2008 International Players |publisher=LPGA |format=PDF |accessdate=2008-02-16]

In August 2008, the LPGA Tour announced a new policy that would have required all players who had been on the tour for two years to be able to speak English or face suspension. [cite web|url=http://www.golf.com/golf/tours_news/article/0,28136,1836145,00.html|title=LPGA to require all players speak English|author=|publisher=golf.com|accessdate=2008-08-26] [cite web|url=http://www.asianweek.com/2008/08/27/more-american-requirements-for-lpga-players/|title="Lieu: More American Requirements for LPGA Players"|publisher=AsianWeek|accessdate=2008-08-29] They rescinded the policy two weeks later amidst increasing criticism, including criticism from LPGA sponsors. Commissioner Bivens will be announcing a revised policy that will not include penalties. [cite web|url=http://sports.espn.go.com/golf/news/story?id=3570957|title=LPGA won't suspend players over English-speaking requirement|author=Associated Press|publisher=|accessdate=2008-09-05] The LPGA has not disclosed by what standards English proficiency will be judged or provided information on whether it will provide education, tutoring, or classes for players whose native language is not English. The LPGA has not required monolingual English-speakers to learn another language. One American commentator, Ron Sirak of "Golf World" magazine, said after the demise of the English-only proposal that "The LPGA was hit by a sucker punch — after setting itself up as the sucker," adding that the single biggest source of revenue for the tour is the sale of television rights in South Korea. [cite web|url=http://sports.espn.go.com/golf/columns/story?columnist=sirak_ron&id=3571122&lpos=spotlight&lid=tab7pos2 |title=LPGA Tour should have seen the fallout coming from English policy |first=Ron |last=Sirak |publisher="ESPN.com" |date=2008-09-05 |accessdate=2008-09-06]

Of the 33 events in 2006, only seven were won by Americans, with Cristie Kerr the only American to win more than once (three times). By contrast, Mexican Lorena Ochoa won seven events, Australian Karrie Webb five, Swede Annika Sörenstam three, and nine South Koreans combined to win 11 events. (See "2006 LPGA Tour" for more details on the 2006 season.)

In 2007, Americans saw a relative resurgence, winning 12 events. For the first time since 2000, two Americans won majors. However, only one American, Paula Creamer, won more than one event, while Mexico's Lorena Ochoa won eight times and Norway's Suzann Pettersen five. Koreans won only four events, seven fewer than the 11 they won in 2006.

Other tours organized by the LPGA

Besides the main LPGA Tour, the LPGA operates a second-level developmental tour, the Futures Tour. Top finishers at the end of each season on that tour receive playing privileges on the main LPGA Tour for the following year.

The LPGA also administers an annual Qualifying School similar to that conducted by the PGA Tour. Depending on a golfer's finish in the Qualifying School tournament, she may receive full or partial playing privileges on the LPGA Tour.

In 2001, the LPGA established the Women's Senior Golf Tour, now called The Legends Tour, for women professionals aged 45 and above.

LPGA Playoffs

Since 2006, all official LPGA tournaments have been part of a playoff system, leading up to the LPGA Playoffs at The ADT, held in November. The LPGA schedule is divided into two halves, with 15 players from each half qualifying for the ADT Championship based on their performance. Two wild-card selections are also included in the Playoffs. The winner of the ADT Championship, which features three days of “playoffs” plus the final championship round, earns $1 million.

2008 LPGA Tour

ADT Playoff Categories:
*winner: Official LPGA Tour events with a purse of at least $2,000,000. Winners of these events automatically qualify for the ADT Championship.
*standard: Winners do not automatically qualify for the ADT Championship; the ADT points system is used.
*unofficial These events are not official LPGA Tour events and participation is not part of the ADT Playoff system.

The number in parentheses after winners' names show the player's total number of official money, individual event wins on the LPGA Tour, including that event.

Leading money winners by year

1 The five players with who won three titles in 1988 were Juli Inkster, Rosie Jones, Betsy King, Nancy Lopez, and Ayako Okamoto.

Leading career money winners

The table below shows the top 20 career money leaders on the LPGA Tour at the end of the 2007 season. There is a more complete list, updated weekly during the Tour season, on the LPGA's official site [http://www.lpga.com/player_stats.aspx?y=2008&o=2 here] .

Total prize money awarded in past decades

*2000 $38,500,000
*1990 $17,100,000
*1980 $5,150,000
*1970 $435,040
*1960 $186,700
*1950 $50,000

ee also

*Golfers with most LPGA Tour wins
*Golfers with most LPGA major championship wins
*Women's World Golf Rankings
*Professional golf tours
*2007 in golf


External links

* [http://www.lpga.com Official site]
* [http://www.seoulsisters.com/main.htm Seoul Sisters] - fansite about the many South Koreans on the LPGA Tour
* [http://www.mylpga.com/ MyLPGA] Fan discussion forum and photo gallery

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