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The 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 Tour and the LPGA Tour.

Since 2007, it has been called the Ricoh Women's British Open, for sponsorship reasons.From 1987 to 2006, the tournament was sponsored by Weetabix, a breakfast cereal.

History

The practice green at the 2008 Women's British Open held at Sunningdale Golf Club.


The Women's British Open was established by the Ladies' Golf Union in 1976. It was intended to serve as the women's equivalent of The Open Championship (sometimes called the British Open outside the United Kingdommarker). At first, it was difficult for the organisers to get the most prestigious courses to agree to host the event, with the exception of the Royal Birkdale Golf Clubmarker, 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 Clubmarker for 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 Turnberrymarker (2002) and Royal Lytham & St Annesmarker (1998, 2003, 2006) hosted the tournament, in addition to Royal Birkdalemarker (2000, 2005). In 2007, the tournament took place at the Old Course at St Andrewsmarker for 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 Tour as 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 Webb of Australia and Sherri Steinhauer of the United Statesmarker. 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 Massey of 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 Tour money list.
  • The top 70 not in the first group on the current year's LPGA Tour money 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 LPGA majors.
  • 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 Classic in Sylvania, Ohiomarker.

Note that, unlike with the men's British Open, the Women's World Golf Rankings do 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 here.

Winners

Winners after the tournament became an LPGA Major:
Year Venue Champion Country Score
2009 Royal Lytham & St Annes Golf Clubmarker Catriona Matthew 285 (-3)
2008 Sunningdale Golf Clubmarker Jiyai Shin 270 (-18)
2007 Old Course at St Andrewsmarker Lorena Ochoa 287 (-1)
2006 Royal Lytham & St Annes Golf Clubmarker Sherri Steinhauer 281 (-7)
2005 Royal Birkdale Golf Clubmarker Jeong Jang 272 (-16)
2004 Sunningdale Golf Clubmarker Karen Stupples 269 (-19)
2003 Royal Lytham & St Annes Golf Clubmarker Annika Sörenstam 278 (-10)
2002 Turnberrymarker - Ailsa Course Karrie Webb 273 (-11)
2001 Sunningdale Golf Clubmarker Se Ri Pak 277 (-11)


Winners before the tournament became an LPGA Major:
Year Venue Champion Country Score
2000 Royal Birkdale Golf Clubmarker Sophie Gustafson 282 (-6)
1999 Woburn Golf and Country Clubmarker Sherri Steinhauer 283 (-5)
1998 Royal Lytham & St Annes Golf Clubmarker Sherri Steinhauer 292 (+4)
1997 Sunningdale Golf Clubmarker Karrie Webb 269 (-19)
1996 Woburn Golf and Country Clubmarker Emilee Klein 277 (-11)
1995 Woburn Golf and Country Clubmarker Karrie Webb 278 (-10)
1994 Woburn Golf and Country Clubmarker Liselotte Neumann 280 (-8)


Winners before the tournament became an LPGA tournament:
Year Venue Champion Country Score
1993 Woburn Golf and Country Clubmarker Karen Lunn 275
1992 Woburn Golf and Country Clubmarker Patty Sheehan 207*
1991 Woburn Golf and Country Clubmarker Penny Grice-Whittaker 284
1990 Woburn Golf and Country Clubmarker Helen Alfredsson 288
1989 Woburn Golf and Country Clubmarker Jane Geddes 274
1988 Woburn Golf and Country Clubmarker Corinne Dibnah 295
1987 Woburn Golf and Country Clubmarker Alison Nicholas 296
1986 Royal Birkdale Golf Clubmarker Laura Davies 283
1985 Moor Park Golf Club Betsy King 300
1984 Woburn Golf and Country Clubmarker Ayako Okamoto 289
1983 No tournament
1982 Royal Birkdale Golf Clubmarker Marta Figueras-Dotti 296
1981 Northumberland Golf Club Debbie Massey 295
1980 Wentworth Clubmarker Debbie Massey 294
1979 Southport and Ainsdale Golf Clubmarker Alison Sheard 301
1978 Foxhills Golf & Country Club Janet Melville 310
1977 Lindrick Golf Club Vivien Saunders 306
1976 Fulford Golf Clubmarker Jenny Lee Smith 299


Champions by nationality

This table lists the total number of titles won by golfers of each nationality as a major.
Nationality Number
of wins
3
1
1
1
1
1
1


Future sites



References



External links




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