LPGA Tour’s biggest money winners of all time

Lorena Ochoa
AP Photo/Jamie Martin

Since 1950, the LPGA Tour has been the place where the world’s best women golfers have competed against one another and put their elite skills on display. While the LPGA operates separate pro golf tours in various countries, the one based in America is the oldest and most famous.

In the tour’s long history, hundreds of women have become millionaires strictly from their winnings in LPGA events, although it’s disappointing how wide the pay gap remains between men’s golf and women’s golf at the top level. For example, the 30th-ranked man in our list of the biggest earners in PGA Tour history has made more money than the top earner on this list by a good margin despite having won far fewer tournaments.

Here’s a look at the 25 biggest earners in LPGA Tour history, strictly in terms of tournament prize money and not including endorsements or other income streams.

25. Meg Mallon

Career Earnings: $9 million

Despite having retired from the LPGA Tour more than a decade ago, World Golf Hall of Famer Meg Mallon still ranks among the biggest earners in history. From 1987-2010, the Massachusetts native raked in more than $9 million in purse money, competing in more than 500 events and winning 18 of them. Among her victories are four major championships, including wins at the U.S. Women’s Open in 1991 and 2004.

AP Photo/Patrick Gardin

24. Laura Davies

Career Earnings: $9.23 million

Dame Laura Davies is golf royalty and it’s easy to see why when you look at her record on the course. No player on the list has played in more LPGA Tour events than the Brit’s remarkable 581. She’s won 20 LPGA Tour events and another 45 on the Ladies European Tour, where she’s the all-time wins leader. Her $9.2 million in career earnings on the LPGA Tour were bolstered by four major wins, including three from 1994-1996, when she was arguably the most dominant woman in the game. She was easily inducted into the World Golf Hall of Fame in 2015.

AP Photo/Annie Rice

23. Brittany Lincicome

Career Earnings: $9.3 million

While Brittany Lincicome’s nickname, “Bam-Bam,” might sound like it belongs to a boxer, this LPGA Tour favorite earned her monicker by savagely beating up golf balls in the tee box. She’s proven herself many times over as one of the longest hitters in the history of the tour, leading the LPGA in driving distance four times since 2005. Her power has undoubtedly helped her become one of the tour’s top earners ever, as the Floridian has won eight LPGA Tour events, including two majors. In 2018, Lincicome made history in the men’s game by becoming just the second woman to break par in a PGA Tour event.

AP Photo/Chris Carlson

22. In-Kyung Kim

Career Earnings: $9.67 million

It took South Korea’s I.K. Kim a decade to win her first major championship on the LPGA Tour but that only made her victory at the 2017 Women’s British Open more satisfying. It was undoubtedly the biggest of her seven career wins on the tour, which she joined as a teen in 2007. In 2019, Kim made headlines by attempting to qualify for the U.S. Open on the PGA Tour. For someone who counts Tiger Woods as her golfing idol, trying to reach that prestigious tournament has to be a real dream.

AP Photo/Sakchai Lalit

21. Anna Nordqvist

Career Earnings: $9.69 million

Sweden has given golf some brilliant players and Anna Nordqvist is right there with the best of them. The two-time major winner has earned nearly $10 million in LPGA Tour events and has racked up eight career wins on the tour so far since joining in 2009. Six of Nordvist’s LPGA Tour victories came from 2014-2017, a stretch that saw her win at least one tournament every season. During those years, she also finished inside the top 10 of the tour money list every season, adding to her impressive career bankroll.

AP Photo/Darron Cummings

20. Catriona Matthew

Career Earnings: $9.73 million

Catriona Matthew first turned pro in 1995 and may be the best player to ever represent the golf haven of Scotland on the LPGA Tour. Her lone major victory came at the 2009 Women’s British Open but she’s finished in the top 10 in more than 100 LPGA Tour events so far. 2009 was the same year Matthew was named the player of the year on the Ladies European Tour and given the LPGA Tour’s prestigious Heather Farr Award for perseverance.

AP Photo/Chris Carlson

19. Amy Yang

Career Earnings: $9.83 million

Amy Yang is one of seven South Korean golfers to rank among the LPGA Tour’s 25 biggest earners, ranking that nation just one behind the United States for the most spots on the list. She’s on the verge of becoming just the 19th woman in history to make at least $10 million in purse money from LPGA Tour events alone. Three of Yang’s four career victories as of 2021 have come at the Honda LPGA Thailand, an event she has dominated in recent years, and she’s posted top-five finishes at four of the five current major championships, including two runners-up finishes at the Women’s U.S. Open.

AP Photo/Wally Santana

18. Sei Young Kim

Career Earnings: $10.42 million

One of the brightest stars in golf today, no player in the LPGA Tour’s top 25 career money winners has played in fewer events than South Korea’s Sei Young Kim. The 28-year-old has earned some prestigious hardware on the LPGA Tour in just the past few years, including rookie of the year honors in 2015 and player of the year honors in 2020. Kim has finished second on the LPGA Tour money list in each of the past two seasons, making $2.7 million in 2019 and $1.4 million in 2020. She’s won a remarkable 12 events on the tour since 2015, including the 2020 Women’s PGA Championship.

AP Photo/Chris O'Meara

17. Yani Tseng

Career Earnings: $10.55 million

When we put together our list of the best golfers in LPGA Tour history, Taiwan’s Yani Tseng cracked the top 20. No golfer in history — regardless of gender — won five majors at a younger age than when she did it at 22. Those victories came from 2008-2011 at the ANA Inspiration, Women’s British Open and Women’s PGA Championship. Tseng was named the LPGA Tour’s player of the year in consecutive seasons for 2010 and 2011, a feat no other player has completed since. Her career took a downturn in 2012, the season in which she last won an LPGA Tour event, but the wins she piled up before that made her one of the biggest earners ever.

AP Photo/Wally Santana

16. Lexi Thompson

Career Earnings: $10.86 million

When Florida’s Lexi Thompson was just 19 years old, she won her first LPGA Tour major championship at the 2014 Kraft Nabisco Championship, now known as the ANA Inspiration. From 2013-2019, she won at least one LPGA Tour event every season, giving her a career total of 11 wins on the tour. Her best season so far came in 2017, when Thompson won the lucrative Race to the CME Globe title and the Vare Trophy, which goes to the player who has the lowest scoring average on tour for the entire season.

AP Photo/Gene J. Puskar

15. Na Yeon Choi

Career Earnings: $10.88 million

A fellow Vare Trophy winner, South Korea’s Na Yeon Choi won that award and topped the LPGA Tour money list in 2010. From 2009-2015, Choi won nine events on the tour, including the 2012 U.S. Women’s Open, which saw her put on a dominant display and win by four strokes. She crossed into the elite $10 million threshold in 2015 but has been slower to accumulate the purse money since then.

AP Photo/Lai Seng Sin

14. So Yeon Ryu

Career Earnings: $11.25 million

This photo shows an elated So Yeon Ryu celebrating with her trophy after winning the 2011 U.S. Women’s Open in a nail-biting playoff. She was named the LPGA Tour’s rookie of the year in 2012 and earned player of the year honors in 2017 after winning her second career major in another playoff at the ANA Inspiration. That year, Ryu became just the third player from South Korea to top the world women’s golf rankings.

AP Photo/Chris Carlson

13. Lydia Ko

Career Earnings: $11.6 million

Like Yani Tseng, New Zealand’s Lydia Ko took off like a rocket and broke many LPGA Tour records related to age at the start of her career. The prodigious talent became the youngest girl — yes, I meant to write “girl” — to ever win a professional golf tournament in 2012 when she topped the leaderboard at an event on the Australian women’s tour at just 14 years old. She then made history on the LPGA Tour by winning two events as an amateur before turning pro in 2014 and adding 14 more victories, including two majors, to her list since then. We ranked Ko among the best players in LPGA Tour history despite the fact that she may just be getting started.

AP Photo/Charlie Neibergall

12. Shanshan Feng

Career Earnings: $11.62 million

While golfers from Asian countries are all over the LPGA Tour’s career money list, Shanshan Feng is the only one in the top 50 to represent China. The self-professed lover of karaoke and soap operas has won 10 events since joining the tour in 2008. Her lone major victory so far came at the 2012 Women’s PGA Championship but she’s had top-four finishes at the other four majors, including runner-up finishes at the Women’s British Open and Evian Championship. In a career highlight that didn’t contribute to her hefty LPGA Tour winnings, Feng also captured the bronze medal in women’s golf at the 2016 Rio Olympics.

AP Photo/Lai Seng Sin

11. Angela Stanford

Career Earnings: $12 million

Native Texan Angela Stanford’s list of hardware might look paltry compared to other players on this list but she’s climbed the LPGA Tour’s career money list by being a dogged competitor for more than 20 years. She joined the tour in 2001 and has played in nearly 500 events since then, posting 100 top-10 finishes. The biggest victory of her seven career LPGA Tour wins came when she was 40 years old, when she won the 2018 Evian Championship for her first career major. It was a well-deserved win after 13 top-10 finishes at majors before she finally topped the leaderboard.

AP Photo/Carlos Osorio

10. Paula Creamer

Career Earnings: $12.1 million

A popular veteran of the LPGA Tour since 2005, Paula Creamer, aka “The Pink Panther,” has 10 wins under her belt so far. From 2005-2010, Creamer was one of the top players in the world, winning nine events, including the 2010 Women’s U.S. Open. She won that championship by four strokes and was the only player to finish under par for the week, getting the proverbial monkey off her back that came with being a top player who had never won a major. She’s only won a single event since then but has maintained a standing as one of the tour’s top earners ever.

AP Photo/Ahn Young-joon

9. Se Ri Pak

Career Earnings: $12.6 million

The current generation of South Korean women dominating the LPGA Tour owes a great debt of gratitude to Se Ri Pak. She’s been elevated to legendary status in her native country after a career on the tour that lasted from 1998-2016 and saw her win a remarkable 25 events. Among those victories were five majors, including three at the Women’s PGA Championship. We ranked her among the 10 greatest golfers in LPGA Tour history and the USGA once described Pak’s demeanor on the course as “intensity bordering on the unearthly.”

AP Photo/Chris Carlson

8. Stacy Lewis

Career Earnings: $13.56 million

It didn’t take Ohio’s Stacy Lewis long to become one of the richest players in LPGA Tour history. She debuted on the tour in 2009 and got her first victory at the 2011 Kraft Nabisco Championship, which is one of the two majors she’s won so far. In 2012 and 2014, she was named LPGA Tour Player of the Year, topping the money list and winning the Vare Trophy in the latter season, making her the first American to sweep those honors since 1993. Lewis most recently topped the leaderboard at the 2020 Ladies Scottish Open, which gave her 13 wins on the tour.

AP Photo/Tony Dejak

7. Juli Inkster

Career Earnings: $14 million

World Golf Hall of Famer Juli Inkster is undoubtedly one of the best to ever swing a club, which she’s proved time and again since joining the LPGA Tour in 1983. The California native is one of only six players in tour history to achieve the career grand slam of winning four different majors. She’s won seven majors in total and a remarkable 31 LPGA Tour events while playing in 712 of them, which is the most of anyone on the list.

AP Photo/Carlos Osorio

6. Suzann Pettersen

Career Earnings: $14.84 million

Retired Norwegian great Suzann Pettersen was known for her brilliance with the irons while racking up wins around the world. In 2007 alone, she won six professional tournaments, including five on the LPGA Tour. That fantastic season also saw Pettersen win the Women’s PGA Championship, which was her first of two major victories. In 2019, her final year on tour, she was given the Heather Farr Perseverance Award, giving her just one more piece of hardware for an already loaded trophy case.

AP Photo/Gene J. Puskar

5. Lorena Ochoa

Career Earnings: $14.86 million

Incredible athletes who walk away from their sport at the top of their form are very rare specimens and Lorena Ochoa is maybe the best example in all of golf. The Mexican icon stunned the world when she retired in 2010 at the age of 28 while still ranked as the top player on the planet. Ochoa’s run of domination on the LPGA Tour from 2003-2010 is almost impossible to fathom, as she won 27 events, including two majors, in that brief span. In 2007, she raked in $4.3 million in winnings, which is still a single-season record on the LPGA Tour. If she had kept playing, it seems likely she could’ve topped this list.

AP Photo/Jamie Martin

4. Inbee Park

Career Earnings: $17.23 million

Of all the excellent golfers South Korea has given the LPGA Tour, Inbee Park may be the greatest to this point. She’s the highest-ranking player from that country on the tour’s career money list, which is quite a feat in itself, having collected more than $17 million since debuting in 2007. She led the money list in 2012 and 2013 and won the Vare Trophy in 2012 and 2015, while also being named player of the year in 2013. Park has completed the career grand slam and counts seven majors among her 21 LPGA Tour victories thus far, with the latest coming in 2021. She’s just four wins away from matching her idol, Se Ri Pak.

AP Photo/Rick Osentoski

3. Cristie Kerr

Career Earnings: $20 million

Only three players in LPGA Tour history have crossed the $20 million threshold and Cristie Kerr is the only American. She’s got more than 180 top-10 finishes under her belt and has won 20 LPGA Tour events since debuting in 1997. She counts wins at the Women’s PGA Championship and U.S. Women’s Open among that impressive tally. Kerr has done a lot of good with the fortune she’s earned from golf, launching a personal crusade to promote women’s health and fight breast cancer through various initiatives.

AP Photo/Seth Perlman

2. Karrie Webb

Career Earnings: $20.3 million

Australia’s Karrie Webb was at the top of the heap when the LPGA Tour was seeing its popularity boom at the turn of the millennium. She and her arch-rival, Annika Sörenstam, were constantly duking it out for the player of the year honors, which Webb took home in 1999 and 2000. She also topped the money list and won the Vare Trophy in three different years, putting her in rarefied air. Webb’s 41 career wins on the LPGA Tour — which includes seven majors and five different tournaments — are the most of any active player.

AP Photo/Lai Seng Sin

1. Annika Sörenstam

Career Earnings: $22.6 million

In women’s golf history, let alone that of the LPGA Tour, one name stands above all others. Sweden’s Annika Sörenstam is credited with helping take the sport into the mainstream in the 1990s because of her brilliant play and utter dominance on the tour. Her 72 career victories helped her rack up more than $22 million in winnings, still the most in tour history despite the fact that she retired all the way back in 2008. Among her unbelievable achievements is being named LPGA Tour Player of the Year a record eight times.

AP Photo/Yun Jai-hyoung
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About the Author
Clint Davis
Clint has watched way too many TV shows and movies and makes a great partner for trivia night. He lives in Cincinnati with his wife, baby son and two massive dogs.

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