Last week was a pretty good one for Lydia Ko.
In addition to the sweet payday, Ko also took home a few other honors: Player of the Year. The Vare Trophy, awarded to the player with the year’s lowest scoring average. And the top spot on the LPGA’s money list for 2022.
But despite the eye-popping sum that Ko pocketed in winnings this year ($4,363,403), fans may be interested to know that Ko’s haul is only the second-highest total ever claimed in the LPGA’s history.
It’s true. That honor belongs to the legend Lorena Ochoa, who won a whopping eight times in 2007 to the tune of $4,363,994 — besting Ko’s total by $1,591.
To put Ochoa’s season in perspective, her season included 21 events, eight of which she won, including a major, the Women’s British Open. She finished second five times and third twice. Her worst finish of the year was a tie for 20th.
Ko’s season included three wins in 22 events, three third-place finishes and a worst-finish of T46.
It goes without saying that prize money in women’s golf has seen significant gains since Ochoa’s heydey. This year’s money list runner-up, Minjee Lee, would have easily topped the money list in each of the last 15 years since Ochoa’s benchmark with her tally of $3,809,960.
And even this year’s third place finisher, In Gee Chun, would have topped the list in three of the last seven years with her total of $2,673,860.
Things are trending up in women’s golf. And though Ochoa’s total remains the benchmark, the LPGA is about to embark on a record-setting season in 2023, with more than $100 million in prize money up for grabs. Perhaps next year we’ll see a new legend emerge.