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Women's British Open
Tournament information
Location  United Kingdom
Established 1976
Course(s) varies
Par varies
Yardage varies
Tour(s) LPGA Tour
Format Stroke play
Purse £1,050,000 in 2008
Month played August
Defunct No
Tournament record score
To-par Australia Karrie Webb −19

England Karen Stupples −19

Current champion
Scotland Catriona Matthew

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. [1]



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 Kingdom). 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 Club, 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 Club 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 Turnberry (2002) and Royal Lytham & St Annes (1998, 2003, 2006) hosted the tournament, in addition to Royal Birkdale (2000, 2005). In 2007, the tournament took place at the Old Course at St Andrews 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 States. 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, Ohio.

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 after the tournament became an LPGA Major:

Year Venue Champion Country Score
2009 Royal Lytham & St Annes Golf Club Catriona Matthew  Scotland 285 (-3)
2008 Sunningdale Golf Club Jiyai Shin  South Korea 270 (-18)
2007 Old Course at St Andrews Lorena Ochoa  Mexico 287 (-1)
2006 Royal Lytham & St Annes Golf Club Sherri Steinhauer  United States 281 (-7)
2005 Royal Birkdale Golf Club Jeong Jang  South Korea 272 (-16)
2004 Sunningdale Golf Club Karen Stupples  England 269 (-19)
2003 Royal Lytham & St Annes Golf Club Annika Sörenstam  Sweden 278 (-10)
2002 Turnberry - Ailsa Course Karrie Webb  Australia 273 (-11)
2001 Sunningdale Golf Club Se Ri Pak  South Korea 277 (-11)

Winners before the tournament became an LPGA Major:

Year Venue Champion Country Score
2000 Royal Birkdale Golf Club Sophie Gustafson  Sweden 282 (-6)
1999 Woburn Golf and Country Club Sherri Steinhauer  United States 283 (-5)
1998 Royal Lytham & St Annes Golf Club Sherri Steinhauer  United States 292 (+4)
1997 Sunningdale Golf Club Karrie Webb  Australia 269 (-19)
1996 Woburn Golf and Country Club Emilee Klein  United States 277 (-11)
1995 Woburn Golf and Country Club Karrie Webb  Australia 278 (-10)
1994 Woburn Golf and Country Club Liselotte Neumann  Sweden 280 (-8)

Winners before the tournament became an LPGA tournament:

Year Venue Champion Country Score
1993 Woburn Golf and Country Club Karen Lunn  Australia 275
1992 Woburn Golf and Country Club Patty Sheehan  United States 207*
1991 Woburn Golf and Country Club Penny Grice-Whittaker  England 284
1990 Woburn Golf and Country Club Helen Alfredsson  Sweden 288
1989 Woburn Golf and Country Club Jane Geddes  United States 274
1988 Woburn Golf and Country Club Corinne Dibnah  Australia 295
1987 Woburn Golf and Country Club Alison Nicholas  England 296
1986 Royal Birkdale Golf Club Laura Davies  England 283
1985 Moor Park Golf Club Betsy King  United States 300
1984 Woburn Golf and Country Club Ayako Okamoto  Japan 289
1983 No tournament
1982 Royal Birkdale Golf Club Marta Figueras-Dotti  Spain 296
1981 Northumberland Golf Club Debbie Massey  United States 295
1980 Wentworth Club Debbie Massey  United States 294
1979 Southport and Ainsdale Golf Club Alison Sheard  South Africa 301
1978 Foxhills Golf & Country Club Janet Melville  England 310
1977 Lindrick Golf Club Vivien Saunders  England 306
1976 Fulford Golf Club Jenny Lee Smith  England 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
 South Korea 3
 Australia 1
 England 1
 Mexico 1
 Sweden 1
 United States 1
 Scotland 1

Future sites


External links



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