The 2023 LPGA Tour season concludes this week at the Hilton Grand Vacations Championship in Orlando, Florida.
From now until mid-November, golfers will compete in 33 tournaments in 11 US states and 12 countries. They play for a record purse of $101.4 million, including $9 million in the KPMG Women’s PGA Championship at Balthurool Golf Club and $10 million at Pebble Beach Golf Links.
In late September, Team USA will try to end Team Europe’s recent dominance at the first Solheim Cup in Spain.
There have been 11 first-time winners on the LPGA Tour in 2022, and there are plenty of stars joining the circuit as rookies this year, including Lucy Lee, Hae Ran Ryu and Alexa Pano.
Will world number 1 golfer Lydia Ko’s career resume? Will Nelly Korda regain No. 1 in 2022 after a four-month absence? Can Lexi Thompson finally win another major?
Here’s what to expect on the LPGA Tour this season:
What’s next on the LPGA?
Hilton Grand Vacations Tournament of Champions
where: Lake Nona Golf & Country Club, Orlando, Florida
Defending champion: Daniel Kang
Bag: 1.5 million dollars
Three stories to watch
Kang defense: Kang opened his 2022 schedule with a 3-shot win over Brooke Henderson in Lake Nona. She would be her only winner of the season. Her brother revealed she will be playing with a spinal tumor at the U.S. Women’s Open at Pinehurst in early June. She took a 10-week break before returning at the end of August.
Kang has posted top-15 finishes in four of her last five starts, including runner-up at the Walmart NS Arkansas Championship presented by P&G. Kang has a new look and a new caddy — she parted ways with longtime Loper Ollie Brett — to bring to her title defense this week.
Kang said her injury made her realize she doesn’t have to play golf every day. She also went on safari in Kenya and said, “Giraffes are like dogs.” She saw a lion hunt a zebra and chase her away with a rhinoceros.
“I hit low points, but I feel good and I learned a lot.” Kang said. “I think for people who struggle with anything, it’s all relative. You have to know why it’s happening to you, and all I can tell people is that they can figure it out. They can figure it out and use it to their advantage.”
Star players are gone.Only three of the top 10 players in the Women’s World Golf Ranking — Korda, Henderson and Nasa Hataoka — are in the field this week.
According to Golfweek, the top 10 players — U.S. Women’s Open winner Minjae Lee and Jin Young Ko — face a $25,000 fine from the LPGA for failing to meet the 1-for-4 rule, which requires players in the top 80. List of CME points for competing in a competition held once every four years in the US. LPGA Vice President of Tour Operations Tommy Tangtifibontana told Golfweek that the players can appeal the penalty.
The next LPGA event, the Honda LPGA Thailand, isn’t until February 23-26. Then there are events planned in Singapore and China. Lee, from Australia, and South Korea, Co., might think it’s better to land in the United States than make the long journey to start one. On March 23-26.
“It’s very difficult,” Korda said. “You have one week on and four weeks off. It’s hard to get into the swing of things.”
There’s a lot of star power in Orlando this week. Among the famous athletes and actors competing in the Pro-Am and celebrity races are Vince Carter, Larry Fitzgerald, Tom Glavine, Greg Maddux, Emmitt Smith, John Smoltz, Annika Sorenstam and Larry the Cable Guy.
Corda’s big switch: World No. 2 Korda missed four months of last season after being diagnosed with a blood clot in her right arm. She returned in June and finished eighth at the US Women’s Open. In November, she won the Pelican Women’s Championship and regained the No. 1 ranking for two weeks.
The 24-year-old is implementing a few changes heading into the 2023 season. She wears Nike clothing and uses TaylorMade equipment and golf balls. She was previously part of the Titleist staff. Korda said she played TaylorMade clubs growing up and began testing the new equipment in October.
“Obviously this was a very extensive test because I wanted to be 100% sure to make the switch,” Korda said. “Everything, honestly, really, really worked out. I was hitting every club so well, the technology was so good at every company, I thought Taylor Made was the best option going forward.”
Korda played Denny McCarthy in the QBE Shootout in early December and then the PNC Championship with her father Peter.
“I’m feeling good,” Korda said. “I didn’t have much of a season. I took about a week off.”
Korda said she has a greater appreciation for golf after being forced to sit out last season.
“I think I was a little grateful to be able to play, travel and do what I love,” Korda said. Definitely, I think I’ve grown to appreciate it a little bit more, simple things like going to the range and hitting some balls and things like that. Hitting some places and traveling.”
It’s Lydia Coe’s world.
World No. 1 Lydia Ko, who won three times last season, claimed the richest purse in women’s golf by claiming the CME Team Tour Championship. However, she is not in the field of 29 players. She has good reason: She got married in South Korea last month and is taking time off for her honeymoon.
Ko hasn’t given up her clubs completely. Playing with her husband Chung Jun, she holed out on the par-3, 182-yard second hole at Tara Eti Golf Club in Mangawhai, New Zealand.
Ko will reportedly start her season at the Aramco Saudi Ladies International on February 16-19. She won the event in 2021.
Predicting the main ones
When: April 20-23
where: The Club at Carlton Woods, The Woodlands, Texas
Defending championJennifer Cupcho
Bag: 5.1 million dollars
Who will win?Nelly Korda
What to knowThe Chevron Championship, formerly known as the ANA Inspiration, has left its longtime home at Mission Hills Country Club in California and moved to its title sponsor in Texas. Because of this, Korda can’t jump into Poppy Pond when she takes her second swim. She’s tied for second in 2020 and third in 2021. There will be an adjustment in her recent switch to TaylorMade equipment, but that sweet swing is still great.
The KPMG Women’s PGA Championship
When: June 22-25
whereBaltusrol Golf Club, Springfield, New Jersey
Defending championBy Ji Chun
Bag: 9 million dollars
Who will win?: Ataya Titikul
What to knowBalthusrol’s Lower Course will host the second women’s major championship and the first since the 1961 U.S. Women’s Open. Titikul, the youngest golfer to win a professional tournament at age 14, will make her first major in her ninth start at a pro. She was the LPGA Rookie of the Year and has five major 10 finishes in 2022.
US Women’s Open
When: July 6-9
wherePebble Beach Golf Links, Pebble Beach, California
Defending championMinje Lee
Bag: 10 million dollars
Who will win in 2023?Lexi Thompson
What to knowWomen’s golf’s most prestigious championship is finally headed to Pebble Beach for the first time. The iconic California course will host the event in 2035, 2040 and 2048. It seems only fitting that the golf gods finally shine on Thompson.
Amundi Evian Championship
When: July 27-30
where: Evian Resort Golf Club, Evian-les-Bains, France
Defending championBrooke Henderson
Bag: 6.5 million dollars
Who will win in 2023?Lydia Co
What to knowAt 25, Ko is on the verge of induction into the LPGA Hall of Fame. The 19-time LPGA winner needs just two more points to reach the 27, which is needed to qualify. She can do it by winning two more LPGA events or one major. In the year She won the event in 2015 and has finished in the top 10 in four of her last five starts, including a third-place finish in 2022.
AIG Women’s Open
When: August 10-13
where: Walton Heath Golf Club, Surrey, England
Defending champion: Ashleigh Buhay
Bag: 7.3 million dollars
Who will win in 2023?Minje Lee
What to know: Australia’s Lee is only a matter of time away from lifting her third individual title at the AIG Women’s Open. She dominates the 2021 Evian Championship and the 2022 US Women’s Open. She has seven top-25s, five top-10s and three top-fives in nine starts at the Women’s British Open. She finished fourth at Muirfield last year.
Beginners to see
Lee, 20, was the youngest person to qualify for the U.S. Women’s Amateur at age 10. She won her age group for the first time in the Drive, Chip and Putt Championship at Augusta National Golf Club. And she was just 11 when she competed in the 2014 US Women’s Open at Pinehurst. After turning pro, she won twice on the Epson Tour last season and was the 54-hole leader before finishing fourth at the LPGA Tour’s Dana Open.
Swinging in the rain! 🌧️
— LPGA (@LPGA) September 4, 2022
He Ran Ryu
The 21-year-old South Korean received medalist honors at the LPGA Q-Series. She has won five times on the Korean LPGA Tour and has previously competed in six LPGA Tour events, including a 13th at the 2020 US Women’s Open and a seventh at the 2021 BMW Ladies Championship.
18-year-old Pano He was featured in the 2013 Netflix documentary “The Short Game,” which follows aspiring golfers. She was the first three-time national finalist in the Drive, Chip and Putt competition and was the youngest player in the inaugural Augusta National Women’s Amateur. She skipped college and in April at the age of 17. Pano is the first women’s golfer to be sponsored by an NFL team. The Massachusetts native has the New England Patriots logo on her polo and backpack.
— New England Patriots (@Patriots) December 15, 2022
The former University of Georgia star came agonizingly close to earning an LPGA Tour card for three consecutive seasons, finishing 11th on the money list at last year’s Q-Series, just $2,303 short of automatic membership. She signed up for the Q-Series after her coach told her not to give up. She shot a 7-under 65 in the final round to do so.
Laclalech, who hails from Morocco, is the first member of the LPGA Tour from North Africa to play at Wake Forest in 2015-16. She passed all three LPGA qualifying schools. In September, she won the Lacoste Ladies Open de France on the Women’s European Tour, becoming the LET’s first Moroccan, Arab and North African winner.
Katsu became the youngest winner on the LPGA Tour of Japan Tour when she finished first at the 2014 KKT Cup Vantelin Ladies Open as an amateur at the age of 15. In 2021 and 2022, Japan won the JLPGA eight times overall, including major victories. Women’s Open Golf Championship. She finished 22nd at the 2019 US Women’s Open.
Solheim Cup Update
The biennial Solheim Cup team competition between the US and Europe will be held for the first time on September 22-24 in Spain. The race at Finca Cortesin in Casares Andalucía takes place the week before the Ryder Cup in Rome.
The Europeans have won four of the last six Solheim Cups, including a 15-13 win at Ohio’s Inverness Club in 2021. Team USA captain Stacey Lewis will try to change things. Norway’s Suzanne Pettersson is the European captain.
Heading into the 2023 LPGA season, there are seven Americans in the Rolex Women’s World Golf Ranking 30, including five in the top 20. There are six Europeans out of 30, three out of 20.
– Solheim Cup 2023 (@SolheimCup2023) January 15, 2023
The top seven players in the Solheim Cup at the end of the qualifying period (after the CP Women’s Open from August 24-27) make the team, as well as the top two players in the Women’s World Golf Ranking. You are already ineligible. Louis will have three captaincy choices.
Players earn points for top-20 finishes, points are doubled for top five and points are increased by 50% because it’s the year of the Solheim Cup.
Thompson, Nellie Korda, Kang, Kupcho, Andrea Li, Lilia Wu and Megan Kang are currently in the top 7 of the US team rankings, while Jessica Korda and Allie Ewing will be the two world-ranked qualifiers.
A new scoring structure will be in place for the 2024 Solheim Cup, which will be played at Robert Trent Jones Golf Club in Gainesville, Virginia. Players who finish in the top 40 of official LPGA events earn points. The qualifying season for 2024 begins this week at the Lake Nona Tournament.
Sweden’s Maja Stark, Lyn Grant, Madeleine Sagström, Anna Nordqvist, Ireland’s Leona Maguire, France’s Celine Boutier and England’s Charlie Hull and Georgia Hall will get automatic places if the European team is selected today. Peterson makes four captaincy choices.