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The LPGA held its inaugural event 68 years ago today

By T.J. Auclair
Published on

On January 19, 1950 -- 68 years ago today -- the LPGA held its inaugural event, the Tampa Open at Palma Ceia Golf Course.
 
Polly Riley, an amateur with over 100 tournament wins in her career, won the Tampa Open, which was the first of a 15-tournament schedule that year.
 
World Golf Hall of Famer Babe Zaharias won eight of the 15 tournaments played on the LPGA in 1950, including each of the three majors contested -- the Titleholders Championship, the Women's Western Open and the U.S. Women's Open.
 
 
Zaharias won a total of $14,800 in that 1950 season. For a little perspective, Annika Sorenstam won eight times in 2001 (and 11 times in 2002) and collected $2,105,868 in on-course earnings. 
 
In 2006, Tiger Woods won eight times on the PGA Tour and collected $9,941,563.
 
The largest LPGA purse in 1950 was $5,000 at the 144 Hole Weathervane and the U.S. Women's Open. Zaharias won both, taking home all $5,000 in the first event and the $1,250 winner's share at the U.S. Open.
 
At the 2017 KPMG Women's PGA Championship, the purse was $3.5 million. Winner Danielle Kang took home $525,000.
 
The LPGA succeeded the Women's Professional Golf Association (WPGA) founded in 1944 and ceasing operations in December 1949 (the last WPGA event was actually played in 1948). All wins prior to the the LPGA's conception are recognized as LPGA wins.
 
Since 1950, the LPGA has come a long, long way. 
 
It now features an international schedule with players from all over the world.
 
In 2018, the LPGA will feature 34 events in 14 different countries.  
 
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