LPGA Majors: History of the Major Championships in Women's Pro Golf

The Number, Identity of LPGA Majors Have Changed Over Time

Ricoh Women's British Open - Day Four
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Over the years, since the tour's founding, the number of and identity of the LPGA Tour's majors has changed several times. In most years there have been four major championships in women's golf. But in some years in the past there were only three majors and in a few years just two. Today, five tournaments are called major championships by the LPGA Tour.

A couple of tournaments once considered majors are no longer played, while a couple other tournaments previously not considered majors, have been elevated to major championship status. For good measure, the names of some of these majors have changed.

Did you follow all that? We'll explain below.

The five majors in women's professional golf today are:

The History of LPGA Majors

The LPGA was established in 1950, and the LPGA Tour began to play that year. The U.S. Women's Open was already in existence at that time. So were the Women's Western Open and the Titleholders, two tournaments that were pioneers in women's professional golf and that were, in real time, considered huge events (although the concept of "majors" didn't really take hold for a while longer).

In the case of each of these three events, the LPGA considers their winners even prior to the founding of the LPGA in 1950 to be major champions.

The LPGA Championship became the fourth major in the LPGA's early history as of 1955. The LPGA Championship (now renamed as the Women's PGA Championship) and U.S. Women's Open are still played today and make up two-fifths of the current LPGA majors.

The Titleholders was played from 1937 to 1966 (with a gap for World War II) and once more in 1972, then discontinued. (The tour introduced a season-ending tournament named Titleholders in 2011, but that tournament is not related to the earlier one.) The Women's Western Open was played from 1930 to 1967. So from the LPGA Tour's founding in 1950 through 1954, there were three majors: U.S. Women's Open, Western Open, and Titleholders. The LPGA Championship made it four from 1955 through 1966.

So here's where we stand so far:

  • 1950-54: Three majors, U.S. Women's Open, Western Open, Titleholders.
  • 1955-66: Four majors, the above three plus the LPGA Championship.

Four Majors to Just Two, Then Back to Three

There were three LPGA majors in 1967, just two from 1968 to 1971, then three again (when the Titleholders had its last gasp) in 1972. From 1973 to 1978, there once again were just two LPGA majors (LPGA Championship and U.S. Women's Open).

The du Maurier Classic (originally called the Peter Jackson Classic) was first played in 1979 and was immediately considered a major. So from 1979 to 1982, there were three LPGA majors.

  • 1967: Three majors, U.S. Women's Open, Western Open, LPGA Championship
  • 1968-71: Two majors, U.S. Women's Open, LPGA Championship
  • 1972: Three majors, U.S. Women's Open, LPGA Championship, Titleholders
  • 1973-78: Two majors, U.S. Women's Open, LPGA Championship
  • 1972-1982: Three majors, U.S. Women's Open, LPGA Championship, du Maurier Classic

And Back to Four

The tour got back to four majors in 1983, when the Nabisco Dinah Shore (originally played in 1972 as the Colgate Dinah Shore) was accorded major championship status. This tournament is still one of the LPGA's majors today, but is now called the ANA Inspiration.

There was one more change in store for LPGA majors, however: The du Maurier Classic was "demoted" following the 2000 tournament (it lives on as the Canadian Pacific Women's Open). However, another existing event was elevated to major championship status beginning in 2001, taking the place of the du Maurier: the Women's British Open. The Women's British Open was first counted as an LPGA Tour event in 1979, but was not considered a major until that 2001 tournament.

Winners of the ANA Inspiration and Women's British Open prior to those tournaments being elevated to majors are not credited with major championship victories.

Here's the breakdown of this era:

  • 1983-2000: Four majors, Dinah Shore/Nabisco/Kraft Nabisco (now called ANA Inspiration), LPGA Championship, U.S. Women's Open, du Maurier Classic
  • 2001-2012: Four majors, Women's British Open replaced du Maurier Classic

And Today: Five LPGA Majors

And in 2013, a fifth tournament received major championship status from the LPGA Tour. The tournament near Paris that had been a "regular" LPGA tour stop and was called the Evian Masters was upgraded to a major and retitled The Evian Championship.

In addition, beginning in 2015 the LPGA Championship was renamed the Women's PGA Championship and the Kraft Nabisco Championship was renamed ANA Inspiration.

So there you have it, the current five LPGA majors: ANA Inspiration, Women's PGA Championship, U.S. Women's Open, Women's British Open and Evian Championship.