What Happened to the LPGA Championship?

The LPGA Tour created the LPGA Championship, the flagship tournament of the LPGA, in 1955. For six decades, it was one of the major championships of women's golf. In 2014, the LPGA Championship was played for the 60th time. But the "LPGA Championship" hasn't been played since. What happened?

The quotation marks we put around "LPGA Championship" in the previous paragraph are a clue: The tournament did not die off after 2014, it only changed names. Today, the LPGA Championship, beaten only by the U.S. Women's Open as longest-running tournament in women's professional golf, is known as the Women's PGA Championship.

The last LPGA Championship took place in 2014; the first Women's PGA Championship took place in 2015. But they are the same tournament, although more than just the name changed.

The LPGA Championship was run by the LPGA Tour. But the LPGA agreed to allow the PGA of America to take over running the tournament. The PGA of America changed the name to Women's PGA Championship, adding it to the men's PGA Championship that the PGA also runs.

Not all LPGA Tour members were pleased with the change. Some, including some Hall of Famers, were outspoken in their criticism of their tour giving up control of its flagship tournament; and, especially, of ceding the "LPGA" branding.

So why did the LPGA agree to hand the tournament over to the PGA of America? The PGA offered quite a few inducements, including a major increase in the tournament prize fund, marketing muscle, much higher-profile golf courses, and better television coverage. The PGA of America was, simply put, able to elevate the tournament into a much more "major" position as a major championship.

And that is why "LPGA Championship" went away after 2014, replaced by "Women's PGA Championship." But they are, in fact, the same golf tournament. The last winner under the LPGA Championship name in 2014 was Inbee Park; the first winner in 2015 under the Women's PGA Championship name was ... also Inbee Park.

See also: Winners of the Women's PGA Championship (LPGA Championship)

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