Senior women’s golf has received a massive boost with the announcement that the inaugural US Senior Women’s Open will be played this July in Chicago and will offer US$1 million prize money.
The USGA has just unveiled a new trophy for the event and also revealed the probable prize pool as well as plans for a television broadcast of the championship.
Calling it a “key milestone for the game,” USGA executive director Mike Davis said it was past due for what had become a “neglected” part of the golf world.
The 72-hole tournament will be held at Chicago Golf Club in Wheaton, Ill., from July 12-15. The championship will be open to any female aged 50 and over with a handicap index not exceeding 7.4. The 120-player field will be comprised of exempt players and qualifiers.
Several LPGA legends were on hand to showcase the event’s trophy at the USGA’s annual meeting over the weekend in Miami.
“It was a magical moment to see that beautiful trophy stand so proud and represent senior women’s golf,” said Hall-of-Famer Pat Bradley. “I am just thrilled to have the opportunity to compete for it.”
The 13-pound sterling silver trophy becomes the heaviest of the USGA’s Open championship trophies and was designed and produced by English silversmith Nicholas Winton.
“It’s a classy decision,” likely contender Amy Alcott said. “One that indicates how much things have changed in women’s sports.”
Alcott, who is automatically eligible to play in the U.S. Senior Women’s Open by virtue of her status as a member of the World Golf Hall of Fame and as a winner of the 1980 U.S. Women’s Open, said she’s really excited about playing.
“Golf doesn’t stop at 50,” she said. “We want an arena to showcase our talent and now we really have one.”
The 2019 Senior Women’s Open will be held May 16-19 at Pine Needles Lodge & Golf Club in Southern Pines, N.C.