US Women’s Open Winners and History

US Women’s Open Winners and History

In some ways, the history of the US Women’s Open reflects the history of inequity in women’s sports. It’s a young tournament, dating back to only 1946, whereas the equivalent (and generally male) US Open dates to 1895. This is, the USGA, suggests in its official history, due to a decided lack of women professionals until after the Second World War.

Along those lines, it’s also worthy of noting that unlike the US Open, it was not founded by the USGA, but rather by the pioneering, but short-lived Women’s Professional Golfers Association.  The first was a match play event at the Spokane Country Club, with the $19,700 purse contributed by a men’s fraternal organization out of slot machine proceeds. The USGA shortchanged the women then, as they do now with significantly lower purses. How this stands the test of gender parity, I don’t know.

US Women’s Open Winners and History

After three years, the WPGA turned the tournament over to the newly formed LPGA. It wasn’t until 1953 that it was first run by the USGA, which had been running the US Open, US Amateur and US Women’s Amateur since 1895.

Another distinction from the US Open: While the US Women’s Open is the oldest women’s tournament open to professionals and amateurs, it’s not universally considered a major in the golf world. Neither the European Ladies Professional Golf Tour, nor the Japan LPGA sanction the US Women’s Open.

Patty Berg won the first Women’s Open, defeating Betty Jameson 5 and 4 in the 36 hole final. That was the last Women’s Open that used match play. (Note that the PGA Championship used match play until 1957, after which it too abandoned the format).

Betsy Rawls was the winner of the first USGA sponsored championship. In all, Rawls would win four times, a feat matched only by Mickey Wright. The only amateur winner was Catherine Lacoste (daughter of Rene Lacoste), in 1967.

When the USGA assumed control of the championship, there were just 37 entrants. Reflecting the growth in womens’ sports, in 2010, there were 1,296 entries. Growth in women’s sports internationally also is on display as nine of the last 20 champions have been foreign born.

The US Women’s Open currently has the biggest purse in women’s golf, at $5 million. Note, however, that this does not even come close to equity with the men’s game, for which the USGA offers $12 million.

The US Women’s Open is open to any female golfer with a handicap of 4.4 or lower. Qualifying consists of a single sectional state of 36 holes played on a single day. Exemptions come from eleven categories, including winners of the Women’s Open from the past ten years, major winners from the past five, the top 50 from the previous LPGA money list, the fop five from the Japan LPGA, Korea LPGA, and European LPGA money lists, and official winners of LPGA tournaments from the past year.

A list of all past winners is below:

YearChampionVenueScoreTo parMargin
2022Minjee LeePine Needles271-134
2021Yuka SasoOlympic Club280-4PO
2020Kim A-limChampions Golf Club281-31
2019Lee Jeong-eunCountry Club of Charleston278-62
2018Ariya JutanugarnShoal Creek G&CC277-11PO
2017Park Sung-hyunTrump National Golf Club277-112
2016Brittany LangCordeValle Golf Club282−6 PO
2015Chun In-geeLancaster Country Club272−81
2014Michelle WiePinehurst Resort, Course No. 2278−22
2013Inbee Park (2)Sebonack Golf Club280−88
2012Choi Na-yeonBlackwolf Run,
composite course
2011Ryu So-yeonBroadmoor Golf Club,
East Course
281−3 PO3
2010Paula CreamerOakmont Country Club281−32
2009Eun-Hee JiSaucon Valley Country Club284E1
2008Inbee ParkInterlachen Country Club283−94
2007Cristie KerrPine Needles Lodge
and Golf Club
2006Annika Sörenstam (3)Newport Country Club284E POPO
2005Birdie KimCherry Hills Country Club28732
2004Meg Mallon (2)The Orchards Golf Club274−102
2003Hilary LunkePumpkin Ridge Golf Club,
Witch Hollow Course
283−1 POPO
2002Juli Inkster (2)Prairie Dunes Golf Club276−42
2001Karrie Webb (2)Pine Needles
Lodge and Golf Club
2000Karrie WebbMerit Club282−65
1999Juli InksterOld Waverly Golf Club272−165
1998Pak Se-riBlackwolf Run,
composite course
290+6 POPO
1997Alison NicholasPumpkin Ridge Golf Club,
Witch Hollow Course
1996Annika Sörenstam (2)Pine Needles
Lodge and Golf Club
1995Annika SörenstamBroadmoor Golf Club,
East Course
1994Patty Sheehan (2)Indianwood G&CC,
Old Course
1993Lauri MertenCrooked Stick Golf Club280−81
1992Patty SheehanOakmont Country Club280−4 POPO
1991Meg MallonColonial Country Club283−12
1990Betsy King (2)Atlanta Athletic Club,
Riverside Course
1989Betsy KingIndianwood G&CC Club,
Old Course
1988Liselotte NeumannBaltimore Country Club,
Five Farms, East Course
1987Laura DaviesPlainfield Country Club285−3 POPO
1986Jane GeddesNCR Country Club287−1 POPO
1985Kathy BakerBaltusrol Golf Club,
Upper Course
1984Hollis Stacy (3)Salem Country Club29021
1983Jan StephensonCedar Ridge Country Club29061
1982Janet AlexDel Paso Country Club283−56
1981Pat BradleyLa Grange Country Club279−91
1980Amy AlcottRichland Country Club280−49
1979Jerilyn BritzBrooklawn Country Club284E2
1978Hollis Stacy (2)Country Club of Indianapolis28951
1977Hollis StacyHazeltine National 29242
1976JoAnne Carner (2)Rolling Green Golf Club292+8 POPO
1975Sandra PalmerAtlantic City Country Club29574
1974Sandra HaynieLa Grange Country Club29571
1973Susie Berning (3)Country Club of Rochester29025
1972Susie Berning (2)Winged Foot Golf Club,
East Course
1971JoAnne CarnerKahkwa Club288E7
1970Donna Caponi (2)Muskogee Country Club287−11
1969Donna CaponiScenic Hills Country Club29461
1968Susie BerningMoselem Springs Golf Club28953
1967Catherine Lacoste (a)The Homestead29462
1966Sandra SpuzichHazeltine National 29791
1965Carol MannAtlantic City CCC29022
1964Mickey Wright (4)San Diego Country Club290−2 POPO
1963Mary MillsKenwood Country Club289−33
1962Murle LindstromDunes Golf and Beach Club301132
1961Mickey Wright (3)Baltusrol Golf Club,
Lower Course
1960Betsy Rawls (4)Worcester Country Club29241
1959Mickey Wright (2)Churchill Valley CC287−12
1958Mickey WrightForest Lake Country Club290−25
1957Betsy Rawls (3)Winged Foot Golf Club,
East Course
1956Kathy CorneliusNorthland Country Club302+11 POPO
1955Fay CrockerWichita Country Club299114
1954Babe Zaharias (3)Salem Country Club291312
1953Betsy Rawls (2)Country Club of Rochester302+10 POPO
1952Louise Suggs (2)Bala Golf Club28487
1951Betsy RawlsDruid Hills GC29355
1950Babe Zaharias (2)Rolling Hills Country Club291−99
1949Louise SuggsPrince Georges G&CC291−914
1948Babe ZahariasAtlantic City CC300E8
1947Betty JamesonStarmount Forest CC295−96
1946Patty Berg †Spokane CC5&4

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