With her three-stroke victory at the Women’s Open, Popov had more than quintupled her career earnings and solidified a lifetime exemption into the event. Popov also thought she had earned another priceless bonus: the five-year LPGA exemption awarded to major winners.
But her thinking changed when she was contacted by an LPGA official shortly after the trophy presentation. The official informed Popov that she fell on the wrong side of a rarely employed rule that states only major winners who are current LPGA members are eligible for the five-year exemption.
As a Symetra Tour member at the time of her victory, Popov would be granted an exemption only for the remainder of this season and the entirety of the 2021 season. (In another cruel twist, Popov is not eligible for the second major of the year, the ANA Inspiration, because that event was originally slated for April.)via Golf.com
Well, the LPGA has really outdone themselves on this one. Not only is Sophia Popov not eligible to play in the Inspiraion in a few weeks, but now she is only given ONE YEAR exemption status on the LPGA Tour. The reason is because since she was a Symetra Tour member and not an LPGA member, she only receives a one-year exemption instead of the usual five-year exemption.
This is a legitimate farce and the LPGA should be ashamed of themselves. Sophia just went into a Major Championship, ranked 304th in the world, with ZERO status on either continent’s premier tours rolls into Royal Troon and dominates the field. I talked in my podcast that the LPGA and Inspiration should be smart and get her into the Inspiration in a few weeks, but instead of listening to that they pull this crap.
What type of message does this send to up-and-coming players on the Symetra Tour? That even if you qualify for the major, and then WIN it, you still don’t get the exemption we promised? Hopefully, the LPGA comes to their senses here and award Sophia the exemption she deserves!