One of the biggest storylines ahead of the 77th US Women’s Open at Pine Needles is the historic $10 million purse. The 2022 winner will receive $1.8 million. Although a full breakdown of the stock market is not yet available, it is safe to say that this will be a game-changing week for many financially.
The benefits of a purse this size extend to the entire court, even those who don’t play on weekends. This year, professionals who miss the cut will receive $8,000, double what was donated last year to the Olympic Club in San Francisco. The men who missed the US Open cup at Torrey Pines last year received $10,000.
There are 19 players on the Epson Tour who have qualified for Pine Needles. The 50th-ranked player on this tour has earned less than $10,000 all season. Knowing that no matter what happens the money won’t be lost is a big deal.
“If I have an outrageous, spectacular week,” said Epson Tour player Gabby Lemieux, “it could make or break my whole season. It could be something like running out of money at the end of the season maybe. Just a good week could mean all the stress is gone. I don’t have to worry about having to eat McDonald’s. I could go out and have a steak if I want.
Lemieux, 25, who will be making her major debut at Pine Needles, said she’s been spending about $1,200 a week at an Epson Circuit hotel. She has her husband, Jared, on the bag, but said caddy fees on tour range between $700 and $1,200.
All US Women’s Open players will also receive a Lexus courtesy car. They also receive discount cards for local restaurants, although free hot food in the players’ hospitality is available until 8 p.m. each evening.
There are physiotherapists, massage therapists, chiropractic care as well as hyperbaric trainer and Normatec compression recovery on site.
Each advantage is added to a special week and a profitable week. Last year’s purse at the Olympic Club was $5.5 million. There are plans to increase the scholarship to $12 million over the next five years.
“I think ultimately it takes the pressure off of going out there and making money,” said Lemieux, who has earned $5,075 so far this season.
“Obviously our first goal should be to go out there and win. But at the end of the day, I feel like there’s this pressure behind the scenes that the girls feel like not many people can see.