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LPGA stars face potential $25k fine for skipping TOC

Jun 26, 2022; Bethesda, Maryland, USA; Minjee Lee looks on from the first tee during the final round of the KPMG Women's PGA Championship golf tournament at Congressional Country Club. Mandatory Credit: Scott Taetsch-USA TODAY Sports

Minjee Lee of Australia and Jin Young Ko of South Korea, the Nos. 3 and No. 5 golfers in the world per the Rolex Rankings, face the prospect of a $25,000 fine if they do not compete in the season-opening Tournament of Champions.

The tournament is this week in Orlando, Fla. After that, the 2023 season won’t resume until Feb. 23-26 in Thailand.

Lee and Ko have not competed in the TOC in recent years and would need to play it this year to avoid being penalized under the LPGA’s 1-in-4 requirement, which says players in the top 80 of the Race to the CME Globe points list must compete in each domestic event once every four years.

Ko had signed up for the TOC but withdrew, according to Golfweek. The former World No. 1 missed time at the end of the 2022 season to rest a wrist injury.

The TOC is only open to players who won an event on tour the previous year. The PGA Tour and PGA Tour Champions have similar events to open their respective seasons. But only three of the top 10 female players in the world will be competing this week, with others also opting not to exercise their right to play.

If Lee and Ko accept the $25,000 fine for not playing the TOC and don’t compete over the next two years, providing they’re eligible, they are subject to an additional $35,000 fine, according to Golfweek.

Nelly Korda, Canada’s Brooke Henderson and defending champion Danielle Kang will headline the field this week at Lake Nona Golf and Country Club.

–Field Level Media