2023 LPGA majors guide: Mix of new, old and familiar highlight championships
The LPGA’s major season, featuring an exciting lineup of host courses rich with championship history, officially opens this week at the Chevron Championship. But 2023 actually kicks off with its first major at a completely new venue, The Club in Carlton Woods (Texas), a Jack Nicklaus signature design that hosted the 2014 U.S. Junior Amateur Championship and is hosting its first pro tour event.
But while we’re enjoying getting acquainted with the Chevron’s new home, we also thought it would be a good time to look ahead in anticipation of the stellar tracks to come. Also fueling the excitement? The eye-popping prize purses for these five majors, which make up $37.9 million of the $101.4 million total prize money for ‘23.
Speaking of stellar, golf courses don’t get much more stellar – or stunning – than Pebble Beach Golf Links, and that’s exactly where the 78th U.S. Women’s Open Championship will be this July for the first time ever. But two weeks before anyone hoists the Harton S. Semple Trophy, the women visit the venerable Baltusrol Golf Club, host of seven men’s U.S. Opens, two U.S. Women’s Opens, two men’s PGA Championships, and soon to be its first KPMG Women’s PGA Championship.
The major season wraps in Europe, where the LPGA stops for the 23rd time at Evian Resort Golf Club in France for the year’s fourth major, the Amundi Evian Championship, which is celebrating its 10th year as a major. The fifth and final major, the AIG Women’s Open, heads to Surrey, England, and the Walton Heath Golf Club, site of the 1981 Ryder Cup and longtime host of the men’s U.S. Open European qualifying tournament.
Read on for more scoop about each stop, and remember: You can watch coverage of all five 2023 LPGA major championships – and the entire LPGA season – on Golf Channel, Peacock, NBCSports.com and the NBC Sports app.
The Chevron Championship
- Course/location: The Club at Carlton Woods in The Woodlands, Texas
- Dates: April 20-23
- Defending champion: Jennifer Kupcho
- 2023 prize purse: $5.1 million
What to know: After five decades at Mission Hills Country Club in Rancho Mirage, California, the tournament moves outside Houston to The Club at Carlton Woods, a Jack Nicklaus signature design. In October 2021, the tournament secured a six-year sponsorship deal with Chevron that increased the purse ($5.1 million in 2023) and relocated the event, but organizers guarantee there will be several nods to tradition at the tournament affectionately known as “the Dinah Shore.” The hospitality area near the 18th green has been named “Dinah’s Place,” the trophy remains named the Dinah Shore Trophy and while there’s no “Poppie’s Pond” at the Texas venue, the lake located at the front left of the par-5 18th hole has been dredged and netted should the winner choose to take the leap, with the traditional robe and slippers on standby.
KPMG Women’s PGA Championship
- Course/location: Baltusrol Golf Club in Springfield, New Jersey
- Dates: June 22-25
- Defending champion: In Gee Chun
- 2023 prize purse: $9 million
What to know: When the PGA of America took over the event that was first known as the LPGA Championship in 2015, they pledged to bring the championship to elite courses near major cities. They’ve backed up their pledge since, as 2023 marks the eighth consecutive year that it will be played at a venue that previously held a men’s major. Baltustrol has previously hosted nine men’s major championships (seven U.S. Opens, two PGA Championships) and two women’s majors (1961 and 1985 U.S. Women’s Open). In January, the LPGA and PGA of America announced 2023 as the “Year of Women’s Golf in New Jersey,” with four prestigious events descending on the Garden State, highlighted by the year’s second major. Also coming to Jersey is the Cognizant Founders Cup (May 11-14 at Upper Montclair CC), Mizuho Americas Open (June 1-4 at Liberty National GC) and the ShopRite LPGA Classic (June 8-11 at Seaview).
Fun fact: 26 of the 67 editions of this championship have been won by international players, including 20 of the last 25. The only Americans to win since 2001 are Cristie Kerr (2010), Danielle Kang (2017) and Nelly Korda (2021).
U.S. Women’s Open
- Course/location: Pebble Beach Golf Links in Pebble Beach, California
- Dates: July 6-9
- Defending champion: Minjee Lee
- 2023 prize purse: $10 million
What to know: The USGA’s relationship with Pebble Beach goes back nearly a century, dating back to the 1929 U.S. Amateur. Pebble Beach has hosted 14 USGA championships to date, the most recent being the 2019 U.S. Open. But while this year marks Pebble’s first time hosting the U.S. Women’s Open, it’s worth noting that women’s amateur and professional golf does have history on the Monterey Peninsula, including the Pebble Beach Championship for Women, played from 1923-51, and two U.S. Women’s Amateur Championships (1940, 1948).
Fun fact: Pebble Beach was a stop on the LPGA tour during its inaugural 1950 season and in 1951 as part of the four-tournament “Weathervane Series.” The four events were played over consecutive weeks across the country, and while a 36-hole champion would be crowned at each stop (earning $750 for the win), players’ scores would also carry over to the next tournament. A 144-hole champion would eventually be crowned (along with a $5,000 payout), with legends Babe Didrikson Zaharias winning both the Pebble Beach stop and the series title in 1950 and Patty Berg doing the same in 1951. The USGA will bring the U.S. Open back to Pebble Beach for a seventh time in 2027.
The Amundi Evian Championship
- Course/location: Evian Resort Golf Club in Evian-les-Bains, France
- Dates: July 27-30
- Defending champion: Brooke Henderson
- 2023 prize purse: $6.5 million
What to know: While the Evian Championship was designated as a major in 2013, tournament history actually dates to 1994, when it was first played as an event on the Ladies European Tour (LET). In 2000, the LPGA joined forces with the LET to co-sanction the event, which immediately earned cachet thanks to a leaderboard topped by Annika Sorenstam and Karrie Webb, who dueled in a playoff that was won with an eagle by Sorenstam. The Evian was elevated to major status in 2013, won that year by Norway’s Suzann Pettersen, who is Team Europe’s Solheim Cup captain for this year’s matches. Evian Resort’s Champions Course now stands as the only women’s major venue never to have moved since the tournament’s inception in 2000.
Fun fact: Since becoming an LPGA event in 2000, Americans have won just four times – Juli Inkster (2003), Paula Creamer (2005), Natalie Gulbis (2007) and Angela Stanford (2018), with Stanford being the only American to win the event since it became a major.
AIG Women’s Open
- Course/location: Walton Heath Golf Club in Surrey, England
- Dates: Aug. 10-13
- Defending champion: Ashleigh Buhai
- 2023 prize purse: $7.3 million
What to know: The tournament was first established by the Ladies Golf Union in 1976 after morphing from the Ladies Amateur Stroke Play Championship to include professionals. In 2001, it replaced the duMaurier Classic as a major championship and has been a women’s major ever since, with The R&A taking over operations in 2017.
Fun fact: Unlike the men’s Open Championship, the Women’s Open is not played solely on links courses and has been played on all types of British tracks, from parkland and heathland layouts to traditional links venues. The last non-links venue to host was Woburn’s Marquess course in 2019, but 2023’s site -- Walton Heath Golf Club – is described as a course “where links golf meets inland golf.” Walton Heath’s Old Course has hosted five European Opens and 23 World Matchplay Championships, but perhaps the biggest contest hosted there was the 1981 Ryder Cup, when the U.S. steamrollered Europe, 18.5-9.5, powered by perfect 4-0-0 records by Jack Nicklaus, Larry Nelson and Lee Trevino.
Let’s talk Grand Slam: A look back at the LPGA’s evolving majors schedule
Eight different events have been classified as LPGA majors at some point, with the number fluctuating between two and five. The first tournament included on the LPGA’s official list of majors is the 1930 Women’s Western Open, with the U.S. Women’s Open being the longest running major dating to 1946. The tournaments and years active include:
- Women’s Western Open: 1930-67
- Titleholders Championship: 1937-42, 1946-66, 1972
- U.S. Women’s Open: 1946-present
- Women’s PGA Championship: 1955-present (past name: LPGA Championship (with various sponsors), 1955-2014)
- du Maurier Classic: 1979-2000 (Peter Jackson Classic, 1979-1983)
- The Chevron Championship: 1983-present (Nabisco Dinah Shore, 1983-99; Nabisco Championship, 2000-01; Kraft Nabisco Championship, 2002-14, ANA Inspiration, 2015-21)
- The Women’s Open: 2001-present (Women’s British Open, 2001-19)
- The Evian Championship: 2013-present
No woman has completed a four-major Grand Slam in a single season, leaving the five-major Slam even more of an elusive goal. Zaharias won all three majors contested in 1950 while Sandra Haynie won the only two majors contested in 1974.
During the four-major era, six women -- Pat Bradley, Juli Inkster, Sorenstam, Louise Suggs, Webb and Mickey Wright -- have completed a “Career Grand Slam” with variations on the four tournaments won. Since the five-major era began in 2013, the LPGA has recognized Inbee Park as having completed the career Slam (elevating her 2012 Evian Championship win as a major), and dubbed Webb a “Super Career Grand Slam” winner as the only player to have won five events recognized by the LPGA as majors.
BONUS: International Crown returns, Solheim Cup heads to Spain
The year also marks the return of the International Crown for the first time since 2018, along with the 18th edition of the Solheim Cup, both of which are being held at prestigious venues with a history of hosting international match-play competitions.
Hanwha LifePlus International Crown
- Location: TPC Harding Park in San Francisco
- Dates: May 4-7
- Defending champion: South Korea
The scoop: Following a hiatus in 2020 due to the pandemic, the International Crown returns to San Francisco’s TPC Harding Park, host of the 2009 Presidents Cup and the 2020 men’s PGA Championship. This match-play competition features four-player teams from eight different qualifying countries: South Korea, United States, Japan, Sweden, England, Thailand, Australia and China. The 32-player field and final country seedings were confirmed April 3 via the Rolex Women’s World Golf Rankings, with the U.S. women seeded No. 1 overall.
- Location: Finca Cortesin Golf Club in Andalucia, Spain
- Dates: Sept. 22-24
- Defending champion: Europe
The scoop: The 18th edition of the Solheim Cup will make its debut in Spain this September when Team Europe goes for its first three-peat vs. Team USA in this biennial competition. The backdrop for this year’s showdown is Finca Cortesin Golf Club in Andalucia, Spain, host to three Volvo World Match Play Championships. Thirteen-time LPGA winner Stacy Lewis will captain the U.S. team, with 15-time LPGA winner Pettersen set to lead the Europeans. The captains will solidify their teams by the end of summer, with the U.S. team set to be finalized by Aug. 28.
The NBC Sports golf research team contributed to this report.