U.S. Women's Open purse to nearly double to $10 million

Jun 6, 2021; San Francisco, California, USA; Yuka Saso hoists the US Open trophy after winning in a sudden death playoff over Nasa Hataoka following the final round of the U.S. Women's Open golf tournament at The Olympic Club. Mandatory Credit: Kyle Terada-USA TODAY Sports/File Photo

Jan 7 (Reuters) - The U.S. Women's Open purse will nearly double this year to $10 million from $5.5 million in 2021, the highest amount in women's golf, the USGA announced on Friday.

The move comes after health care system ProMedica agreed to a long-term sponsorship deal with the USGA focused on the tournament.

The figure eclipses the previous benchmark set by the AIG British Women's Open, which offered $5.8 million in prize funds in 2021 and is expected to offer an additional $1 million this year. read more

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"For more than 75 years, the U.S. Women's Open has been the one that every little girl, in every country around the world, has dreamed of winning," USGA CEO Mike Whan said in a statement.

"While I’m incredibly proud of what we are announcing today, I know this is just the beginning."

The USGA said it planned to increase the prize fund to $11 million and then $12 million in the next five years.

The oldest of the five women's golf majors, the tournament begins June 2 at Pine Needles in North Carolina, where the winner will take home $1.8 million. Yuka Saso is the defending champion.

Later on Friday, Whan told Golf Today that the change was about growing the sport in the future.

"The most important thing is the next generation and the generation after that," Whan told Golf Today.

"As I said in today's meeting to Juli Inkster and Megha Ganne and Danielle Kang, as great as this is for you all, the real benefit of this announcement is for your daughters, and your daughter's daughters. For their dreams to get bigger."

Some of the biggest names in golf cheered the news.

"Absolutely love to see it," Jessica Korda, a six-time winner on the LPGA Tour, tweeted in response to the announcement.

"LFG!" her sister and world number one Nelly Korda wrote on Twitter.

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Reporting by Amy Tennery in New York and Rory Carroll in Los Angeles Editing by Toby Davis and Christian Radnedge

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