- Women's British Open
Infobox Golf Tournament
tournament_name = Women's British Open
location = GBR
establishment = 1976
course = varies
par = varies
yardage = varies
tour = LPGA Tour
purse=£1,050,000 in 2008
month_played = August
playoff = Winner
defunct = No
to-par = flagicon|AUS
Current Champion = flagicon|KOR
Ji-Yai ShinThe Women's British Open is a leading event in women's professional golf and the only tournament which is classified as a major by both the Ladies European Tourand the LPGA Tour.
Since 2007, it has been called the
RicohWomen's British Open, for sponsorship reasons.From 1987 to 2006, the tournament was sponsored by Weetabix, a breakfast cereal. cite web |url=http://www.ricohwomensbritishopen.com/history.htm |title=History of the Women's British Open |accessdate=2008-03-02]
The Women's British Open was established by the
Ladies' Golf Unionin 1976. It was intended to serve as the women's equivalent of The Open Championship(called the British Open outside the United Kingdom). At first, it was difficult for the organizers to get the most prestigious courses to agree to host the event, with the exception of the Royal Birkdale Golf Club, which hosted it twice during its early days -- in 1982 and 1986. After nearly folding in 1983, the tournament was held at the best of the "second-tier" courses, including Woburn Golf and Country Clubfor 10 straight years, from 1987 through 1996, as well as in 1984 and 1999.
As its prestige continued to grow, more of the links courses that are in the rotation for the British Open, such as
Turnberry(2002) and Royal Lytham & St Annes (1998, 2003, 2006) hosted the tournament, in addition to Royal Birkdale (2000, 2005). In 2007, the tournament took place at the Old Course at St Andrewsfor the first time. However unlike its male counterpart, the tournament has not adopted a links-only policy. This greatly increases the number of potential venues, especially the number close to the major population centres of England.
Through 1993, the tournament was an official stop only on the
Ladies European Tour. It became an official stop on the LPGA Touras well in 1994, which increased both the quality of the field and the event's prestige. It has been an official LPGA major since 2001, when it took the place of the du Maurier Classic on the LPGA's list of majors. In 2005, the starting field size was increased to 150, but only the low 65 (plus ties) survive the cut after the second round. In both 2007 and 2008 the prize fund was £1,050,000.
Tied for most victories in the Women's British Open with three each are
Karrie Webbof Australiaand Sherri Steinhauerof the United States. Each player won the tournament twice before it became an LPGA major and once more after it became a major. The only other multiple winner is two-time champion Debbie Masseyof the United States, the only person other than Steinhauer to win in consecutive years.
Exemptions and qualifying events
The field for the tournament is 150, and golfers may gain a place in three ways. The overwhelming majority of the field is made up of leading players who are given exemptions. The rest of the field is made up of players who were successful in "Final Qualifying".
There were fourteen "exemption" categories as of 2006. Among the more significant are:
*The top 15 (and ties) from the previous year's Women's British Open.
*The top 35 not in the first group on the current year's
Ladies European Tourmoney list.
*The top 70 not in the first group on the current year's
LPGA Tourmoney list.
*The top 5 not in the first group on the current year's LPGA of Japan Tour money list. (Note that these three categories have accounted for approximately 125 entries -- or 5/6ths of the players in the final field.)
*Winners of any recognized LET or LPGA events in 2006.
*The previous 10 Women's British Open champions.
*The previous 5 champions of one of the other three
*The previous 3 champions of the
Samsung World Championship.
"Final Qualifying" is the traditional way for non-exempt players to win a place at the Women's British Open, although it has become much less meaningful since the tournament became an official LPGA event in 1994. In 2006, an 18-hole pre-qualifying competition was held two weeks before the Open, followed by an 18-hole final qualifying competition the Monday before the Open.
In addition, to permit overseas qualifying, five spots are awarded to the top five entrants not otherwise qualified who won the highest places at the LPGA's
Jamie Farr Owens Corning Classicin Sylvania, Ohio.
Note that, unlike with the men's British Open, the
Women's World Golf Rankingsdo not play a significant role in qualifications at this time. A full list of all exempt categories and qualifying rules for the 2006 tournament may be found [http://www.lgu.org/data/files/conditions_wwbo_2006.pdf here] .
Winners after the tournament became an LPGA Major:
Royal Lytham & St Annes Golf Club
Royal Birkdale Golf Club
* [http://www.ricohwomensbritishopen.com/ Official site]
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