Effective in 2022, players must be professionals to play in LPGA Q-Series, setting an equal playing field for those competing for Tour Membership
The LPGA announced today that beginning in 2022, players must compete as professionals in Q-Series, the final stage of qualifying for the LPGA Tour. If an amateur player advances to or is exempt into Q-Series, she must turn professional to compete for the opportunity to earn LPGA Tour Membership.
All players who qualify for Q-Series through Stage II of Q School receive Epson Tour status. Amateur players can continue to compete as an amateur, which is permitted on the Epson Tour, or may elect to turn professional and compete for an opportunity to advance directly to the LPGA Tour.
The Epson Tour, the official qualifying tour of the LPGA Tour, has a mission to prepare the world’s best young women professional golfers for a successful competitive career. Since its inception in 1999, more than 600 Epson Tour alumnae have earned LPGA Tour Membership, including major champions Nelly Korda, Lorena Ochoa and Inbee Park.
Providing the most fair and consistent pathways
This decision, which came following feedback from the LPGA Tour Membership and the college coaching community, will provide the most fair and consistent pathways to the LPGA Tour. Requiring professional status for Q-Series competitors will set an equal playing field for those committed to competing full time on the LPGA Tour.
Ricki Lasky, Chief Tour Business and Operations Officer for the LPGA, said:
“LPGA Q-Series is the final stage to competing on the LPGA Tour, which is a fully professional tour that requires that its Membership competes as professional athletes. Ensuring all competitors have made the same choice to be a professional player elevates the Q-Series competition and creates the most appropriate options for athletes at different stages of their careers.
“Providing Epson Tour status to those athletes who advance through Q School but choose to retain their college eligibility provides an appropriate pathway for those players to complete their college season or career and then immediately compete on the Epson Tour.”
Why the change on amatuer status?
In 2018, the LPGA began permitting amateurs who earned LPGA Tour status at Q-Series to defer their Membership until July 1 of the following year. This change gave the amateur athlete the option to finish her college season and/or career before turning professional.
Of the 16 amateur players who earned LPGA Tour Membership in 2018, 2019 and 2021 (Q-Series was not held in 2020 due to the pandemic), Jennifer Kupcho and Maria Fassi (both in 2018) are the only players who elected to defer. The remaining 14 amateurs all immediately accepted LPGA Tour Membership, with numerous other players turning professional and competing immediately on the Epson Tour.
The LPGA is committed to working with the Women’s Golf Coaches Association and its membership and will create a working group for further discussion on ways of providing the best opportunities for aspiring professionals to live their dreams.
Tommy Tangtiphaiboontana, the LPGA’s senior vice president of Tour Operations, said:
“I am very appreciative of the college coaches who have shared their thoughts on this process. These coaches are developing the future stars of the women’s game, and we want to make sure that they are providing the best opportunities to their players, just as we do at the LPGA Tour.”
2022 LPGA Q-Series
2022 LPGA Q-Series, held over eight rounds in consecutive weeks, will be held on December 1-4 at Magnolia Grove (Crossings and Falls Courses) in Mobile, Alabama. The second week will be held Dec. 8-11 at Highland Oaks (Highlands and Marshwood Courses) in Dothan, Ala.
Players finishing inside the top 45 and ties following the conclusion of the cumulative eight rounds of Q-Series will receive LPGA Tour status for the following season. All players finishing outside the top 20 and ties will also receive Epson Tour status.
Stage I of 2022 LPGA Q School will be held on August 18-21 at Mission Hills Country Club (Dinah Shore and Palmer Courses) in Rancho Mirage, California, and Shadow Ridge Golf Club in Palm Desert, California Stage II will be held on October 18-21 at Plantation Golf and Country Club (Bobcat and Panther Courses) in Venice, Florida.
For more information, visit www.lpga.com/tournaments/qualifying-tournament