LPGA Sprint Championship/Mercury Titleholders Championship

This golf tournament on the LPGA Tour was known by various names during its existence in the 1990s, including Sprint Championship and, at the end, as the Mercury Titleholders Championship. During its run, it was one of the highest-paying and most prestigious tournaments on the LPGA.

First played: 1990

Last played: 1999

For most of its 10 times played, the Sprint/Mercury Titleholders had the biggest purse on the LPGA Tour — bigger even than the tour's major championships. In 1991, for example, its purse of $1.1 million was $500,000 more than the U.S. Women's Open purse, and double the next-biggest purse among LPGA non-majors. In 1992, its $1.2 million purse was called by the Associated Press the largest purse in women's golf history. That money led some golfers and media to occasionally refer to the tournament as "the fifth major."

"Titleholders" was part of the tournament name the last four years it was played. But this event should not be confused with the Titleholders Championship, an LPGA major played from 1937-66; or the tournament that in 2011-13 was named the CME Group Titleholders. One of the Sprint/Mercury Titleholders Championship's earlier names was Centel Classic, and the PGA Tour's Tallahassee Open also used that name in the late 1980s.

Karrie Webb was a two-time champion. She won in 1996, her rookie year; and, in 1999, over runner-up Annika Sorenstam. Danielle Ammaccapane also won twice.

This tournament was known for being closely contested. Webb's three-stroke win over Sorenstam in 1999 was the largest margin of victory. The margin was only one stroke each of the first six years it was played.

In 1993, Kristi Albers earned her only victory on the LPGA Tour in this tournament, then called the Sprint Classic. She did so wire-to-wire, and made birdie on the last hole after three consecutive bogeys.

In 1999, there were six holes-in-one made during the tournament, which set a new LPGA Tour record.

The tournament's naming history is this:

  • Centel Classic — 1990-92
  • Sprint Classic — 1993
  • Sprint Championship — 1994-95
  • Sprint Titleholders Championship — 1996-97
  • Mercury Titleholders Championship — 1998-99
From 1991 through 1996, the LPGA's first senior tournament took place concurrently, on the same golf course. Sandra Palmer was the winner five consecutive times (1991-95, each tournament 36 holes), then JoAnne Carner won the last senior event, over 54 holes, in 1996.

Winners of the Sprint/Mercury Titleholders Championship

1990 — Beth Daniel, 271
1991 — Pat Bradley, 278
1992 — Danielle Ammaccapane, 275
1993 — Kristi Albers, 279
1994 — Sherri Steinhauer, 273
1995 — Val Skinner, 273
1996 — Karrie Webb, 272
1997 — Tammie Green, 274
1998 — Danielle Ammaccapane, 276
1999 — Karrie Webb, 271

Golf courses: The tournament took place at multiple courses in Florida. First, from 1990-93, it was played at Killearn Country Club in Tallahassee. In 1994, it moved for one year to Indigo Lakes Golf & Tennis Resort in Daytona Beach. And it ended at LPGA International in Daytona Beach from 1995-99.

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