1950: Inaugural LPGA Tournament (Tampa Open Won by Polly Riley)
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It was on this day 68 years ago that the first LPGA Tournament was held… The tournament played in Tampa, Flordia was called, The Tampa Open & held at the 6,093-yard Palma Ceia Golf Course.
In 1950, It Was Just the Beginning for The LPGA
It was founded in 1950 by a group of 13 golfers:
- Alice Bauer
- Patty Berg
- Bettye Danoff
- Helen Dettweiler
- Marlene Bauer Hagge
- Helen Hicks
- Opal Hill
- Betty Jameson
- Sally Sessions
- Marilynn Smith
- Shirley Spork
- Louise Suggs
- Babe Zaharias
…Many of which have been inducted into the World Golf Hall of Fame.
The LPGA succeeded the WPGA (Women’s Professional Golf Association), which was founded in 1944 but stopped its limited tour after the 1948 season and officially ceased operations in December 1949. This left a serious need for association within women’s golf.
The LPGA Tour featured 14 events in its first year, with $50,000 in total prize money. In the intervening 50 years, the prize money has grown 7,320%.
Today, players are competing for more money per event than ever before and are among the highest-paid female professional athletes in the world.
The LPGA’s Teaching and Club Professional (T&CP) Division, formed nine years after the founding of the LPGA, now boasts a membership of more than 1,100 women golf professionals. They are teachers, golf professionals, facility managers, and coaches.
This group of women also administers the association’s grassroots programs for youth and women, in addition to teaching the game to men, women, and children across the country.