LPGA Founders Cup Golf Tournament: Winners, Dates

Sei Young Kim of South Korea poses for a selfie with the trophy after winning the LPGA JTBC Founders Cup at Wildfire Golf Club on March 20, 2016 in Phoenix, Arizona.
Sei Young Kim with the LPGA Founders Cup trophy after winning in 2016.

Todd Warshaw / Getty Images

The LPGA Founders Cup is a golf tournament played annually in Phoenix, Ariz., that is part of the LPGA Tour schedule. The tournament was created in 2011 and named in honor of the 13 women who founded the LPGA in 1950.

Those 13 founding LPGA members were Alice Bauer, Marlene Bauer, Patty Berg, Bettye Danoff, Helen Dettweiler, Helen Hicks, Opal Hill, Betty Jameson, Sally Sessions, Marilynn Smith, Shirley Spork, Louise Suggs and Babe Didrikson Zaharias.

Each year, the Founders Cup presents exhibits relating to those founders, as well as to other important golfers throughout the tour's history. And each year, some of those so honored—including, in multiple years, surviving founders—are seated near the 18th hole. Many of the golfers playing the tournament, as they depart the 18th hole, stop to thank the honorees for their efforts building today's LPGA.

Fast Facts: LPGA Founders Cup

  • What It Is: A golf tournament on the LPGA Tour that also serves to honor tour founders and other important players from the tour's past.
  • Key Players: Jin Young Ko, Inbee Park, Nelly Korda, Danielle Kang, Lexi Thompson, Sei Young Kim, Brooke Henderson
  • Tournament Dates: In 2020, March 19-22. The tournament is played annually.
  • Location: Wildfire Golf Club in Phoenix, Arizona

At the first Founders Cup, the purse of $500,000 was entirely donated to charity—participating golfers played for free, in other words. Given the economics of women's professional golf (and especially at that time when the LPGA was struggling with some tournament sponsors withdrawing), that was quite a sacrifice on the part of the players. In tournaments since then, however, the tour has instituted a standard purse structure, and the players now play for $1.5 million each year. (The tournament still raises large sums for charity, too.)

Before the Founders Cup launched in 2011, there had been a year's gap in the LPGA's presence in Phoenix. The LPGA previously played a tournament under various names (best-remembered as the Standard Register Ping or Safeway International) in the Phoenix area from 1980 through 2009, but that event didn't return in 2010.

How to Get Tickets

Ticket info for the 2020 tournament is not yet available. In years past, the online price for a single day ticket was $20, while single-day tickets purchased at the gate were $27. Weekly passes are also available.

Ticket info, when it becomes available, will be posted on the official tournament website, and online purchases can be made from there. Those interested in attending can also call the tournament office at 386-236-1369 for the latest details.

Founders Cup Golf Course

The Wildfire Golf Club, part of the JW Marriott Phoenix Desert Ridge Resort & Spa, is located on the northeast side of Phoenix.

There are two golf courses at Wildfire Golf Club, one designed by Nick Faldo, the other by Arnold Palmer. Both courses are used during the LPGA Founders Cup: Tournament golfers play the front nine of the Palmer Course and back nine of the Faldo Course. For the tournament, the composite course is set up at 6,656 yards with a par of 72.

Both of Wildfire's golf courses are open to the public and tee times can be booked online through the resort's website.

LPGA Founders Cup Winners

The roster of champions with their winning scores:

2019 — Jin Young Ko, 266
2018 — Inbee Park, 269
2017 — Anna Nordqvist, 263
2016 — Sei Young Kim, 261
2015 — Hyo Joo Kim, 267
2014 — Karrie Webb, 269
2013 — Stacy Lewis, 265
2012 — Yani Tseng, 270
2011 — Karrie Webb, 204

Tournament Records

The 18-hole scoring record in the Founders Cup is 61, recorded by Anna Nordqvist in the third round of her 2017 victory.

The lowest winning score to date is 261, set by Sei Young Kim in 2016. Kim fired a final-round 62 and her final score in relation to par was 27-under. That wasn't just a tournament record, it tied the LPGA's all-time record for most strokes under par. Annika Sorenstam, at the 2001 Standard Register Ping (also played in Phoenix), is the only other golfer to finish an LPGA tournament at 27-under.

Kim also set the tournament record for margin of victory, winning by five strokes in 2016. Two years later, Inbee Park tied that mark.

So far, no golfer has won more than two titles in the Founders Cup, and only one golfer has won that many: Karrie Webb.