AIG Women's Open: Prize money increase sends 'strong signal'

By Iain CarterBBC golf correspondent
World number 12, US golfer Lexi Thompson plays the 18th hole at Carnoustie in a warm-up to the AIG Women's Open
World number 12 Lexi Thompson is among the leading contenders at the AIG Women's Open

Increases in prize money for the AIG Women's Open have been announced by the R&A, making the championship the most lucrative in female golf.

The purse for this year's event at Carnoustie, which starts on Thursday, is $1.3m larger than for last year's tournament and totals $5.8m (£4.2m).

The winner will take home $870,000 (£582,000).

There will be a further increase by $1m to no less than $6.8m for the 2022 championship at Muirfield.

This will more than double the prize fund from 2018.

"We are absolutely committed to elevating the AIG Women's Open and enhancing its status as one of golf's premier championships," said R&A chief executive Martin Slumbers.

"We are taking action to make change happen and sending out a strong signal that more needs to be done by everyone involved to grow women's golf.

"It needs greater investment and support from golf bodies, sponsors, the media and fans to help us grow the game's commercial success and generate the income and revenues necessary to make prize fund growth viable and sustainable.

"We have set a new benchmark for prize money in women's major championship golf this week. We hope this will inspire other events to follow our lead and help us to take a collective leap forward for the women's game."

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