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LPGA to Impose $25K Fine on Multiple Major Champions Minjee Lee and Jin Young Ko Over an Absurd Ruling

Published 01/17/2023, 3:39 AM EST

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In 2017, Jin Young Ko was the talk of the town when she won 10 times on the LPGA of Korea Tour by the time she was 22 years old. And in 2014, Minjee Lee became the number one ranked amateur golfer. Both these female golfers have achieved great heights in their golfing careers. They are an essential part of the LPGA tour. However, the pro golfers have fallen into a pit after not adhering to the tour rules.

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The 2015 major championship winner and Ko got into trouble for not adhering to LPGA 1-in-4 rule. The female golfers’ tour has been in the headlines for many reasons. Some were good, and some were bad. There was a time when the LPGA players received a stern warning to ‘get their act together,’ or else they would have suffered an enormous loss.

Even though the tour had terrible times, the golfers brought good times by winning the events. However, this time, Lee and Ko seem to lose big bucks. 


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Why Jin Young Ko and Minjee Lee are in trouble with the LPGA?

According to reports by Golfweek, the two world’s top golfers, Lee and Ko, have to pay a fine of $25,000 for missing this week’s LPGA Tour season opener. The Hilton Grand Vacations Tournament of Champions noticed the absence of these two golfers; hence, they will have to pay the price.

Lee and Ko are world number three and five golfers, respectively. The tour found them foul of the LPGA 1-in-4 requirement. According to the rules, the top 80 players on the CME points list must compete in a domestic tournament every four years. A player is subject to it up until the point at which she has competed in 230 LPGA events officially; at that point, she is exempt for the rest of her career.


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The tournament features a 30-player field competing for a purse of $1.5 million. It will begin this week, but without Australian Lee or Korean Ko. However, the latter had initially intended to play in the tournament before withdrawing. But to play in the Florida tournament, the pair might face the daunting prospect of trips worldwide, given their respective home countries. 

The season’s second event starts more than a month after the Florida opener. It’s significant that the Honda LPGA Thailand competition ushers in the tour’s three-tournament Asian Swing. It will make things much easier for the duo. However, Ko’s wrist injury and Lee’s busy schedule was also the reason for the absence of the golfers from the ISPS Handa Australian Open last month. 


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Why is the 1-in-4 rule important? 

Under the LPGA’s “1-in-4” rule, players in the top 80 of the CME points list must participate in a domestic event once every four years. The golfers, Lee and Ko, will have to compete in 2023 to escape punishment for their recent absences from the TOC field.

If they meet the requirement, Lee and Jin Young Ko can request their one-time exemption from the event if they want to. The authorities created the 1-in-4 regulation to safeguard sponsors. However, both players can appeal the penalty, according to Tommy Tangtiphaiboontana, the LPGA’s vice president of tour operations.


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Written by:

Saumya Yashawant


One take at a time

A Commerce graduate who turned her passion into her profession, Saumya is a Golf writer at Essentially Sports. Having developed the love for the sport at a very young age, she watched Tiger Woods and caught inspiration from his legacy early on. Apart from Woods, she shares great admiration for her country's players like Vishwanathan Anand and Neeraj Chopra.
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Edited by:

Rohini Kottu