Almost any other season, Minjee Lee’s $3,809,960 earnings would’ve topped the LPGA money list. But with the CME Group Tour Championship offering a record-setting $2 million first-place prize, Lydia Ko’s season-ending victory pushed her to the top of the list for 2022 at $4,364,403. Lee finished second.
Ko moved up to fifth on the LPGA career money list with $16,695,357, ahead of Lorena Ochoa. Annika Sorenstam, Karrie Webb, Cristie Kerr and Inbee Park are the four players ahead of Ko.
A record-setting six players crossed the $2 million mark this season on the LPGA and 27 players won seven figures.
Where do Ko’s season earnings rank in history? Read on:
Lorena Ochoa’s span of dominance began in 2006 with a major championship record 62 at the Kraft Nabisco (now Chevron). Ochoa won six events in ’06 and clinched her first Rolex Player of the Year award. She also won the Vare Trophy (given to the player with the lowest scoring average) and topped the money list. She finished in the top 10 in 21 of 25 starts.
Ariya Jutanugarn’s 2018 three-win season was highlighted by a US Women’s Open, her second major title. Jutanugarn’s three-win season set single-season records in rounds in the 60s and birdies. She won LPGA Player of the Year, the Vare Trophy and the money title.
Ochoa’s 2008 season included her second major championship title at what’s now the Chevron Championship. The next week she won the Corona Championship in Mexico by 11 strokes to earn the last point needed for the LPGA Hall of Fame. Once again, Ochoa swept the Player of the Year and Vare Trophy titles. She won seven times in 2008 and took the money title for a third straight year.
Jin Young Ko’s second full season on the LPGA included two major titles (ANA Inspiration and Evian Championship). She won four LPGA events in 2019 and went bogey-free for a tour-record 114 holes. Ko won the Vare Trophy for lowest scoring average and the Player of the Year titles with a dozen top 10s. She finished runner-up three times.
Lydia Ko won five times in 2015, with six additional top-3 finishes. She became the youngest player to rise to No. 1 in the world at age 17. Over the summer, Ko won her third Canadian Women’s Open title and became the youngest major champion in LPGA history at the Evian Championship.
In November, Ko became the youngest to win the Rolex LPGA POY title.
Annika Sorenstam won 11 times is 23 starts in 2002, with six additional top-3 finishes. Sorenstam won her fifth Player of the Year title and fifth Vare Trophy. The remarkable Swede defended her title at what’s now known as the Chevron Championship, earning her fourth major title.
Yani Tseng rose to No. 1 in the world early in 2011. She went on to win back-to-back major titles, including the LPGA Championship and Women’s British Open at Carnoustie. She became the youngest player, male or female, to win five majors.
The highlight of the year though, might have been when she won the first LPGA event on Taiwanese soil in front of enormous crowds. Tseng won seven titles in 2011, running away with the POY title.
Jin Young Ko’s torrid stretch in the second half of 2021 featured five victories, including the CME Group Tour Championship. Her closing 66 at the Founders Cup enabled her to tie Sorenstam’s record of 14 consecutive rounds in the 60s.
Ko teed it up 19 times in 2021, notching 13 top-10 finishes. She claimed her second POY title and topped the money list for a third straight year.
Lydia Ko’s comeback season began with victory at the Gainbridge LPGA in January and ended with a $2 million payday at the CME Group Tour Championship. Ko won three times this season and finished in the top 10 a total of 14 times in 22 starts. Ko won Player of the Year and Vare Trophy titles and topped the money list, finishing only $591 behind the all-time record.
The former phenom became the 15th different player to win the POY at least twice.
The 2007 season was an iconic one for Ochoa, who overtook Sorenstam as World No. 1 in April. Her eight victories included the first Women’s British Open ever held over the Old Course at St. Andrews. She’d go on to win her next two events.
Ochoa once again won the Vare Trophy and Player of the Year titles. Her $4,364,994 in winnings remains a record for women’s golf.
|nineteen eighty one||Beth Daniel||206.998|
|1992||Dottie Mochrie (Pepper)||693,335|
|2010||Na Yeon Choi||1,871,165|
|2017||Sung Hyun Park||2,335,883|
|2019||Jin Young Ko||2,773,894|
|2020||Jin Young Ko||1,667,925|
|2021||Jin Young Ko||3,502,161|