124th U.S. Open

Pinehurst No. 2

News & Tours

Japanese star reverses course, decides to accept LPGA membership

November 17, 2023

Mone Inami won the Toto Japan Classic.

Yoshimasa Nakano

NAPLES, Fla. — The LPGA Tour's most recent first-time winner, after not immediately taking up membership, will become a tour member. The LPGA announced Friday that Mone Inami, who won the Toto Japan Classic on Nov. 5 as a non-member, would join the tour for the 2024 season.

"This membership, I earned on my own," Inami told Japanese media in a press conference on Nov. 8. "After discussing it with my team, I knew that playing the U.S. Tour will be big for my future. The team agreed with me and said they would support me, so I decided to give it a try."

After her victory, Inami declined immediate membership to the LPGA, but the 13-time JLPGA winner declined and had until Nov. 27 to decide if she would take up full-time membership for next year. In now doing so, Inami will have a one-year exemption for her victory.

The LPGA said Inami will be eligible to compete in the Hilton Grand Vacations Tournament of Champions in January.

Had Inami, a silver medalist at the 2020 Olympics, not accepted her card, she would have been the third Japanese player since 2019 to decline LPGA membership after a victory. Both 2019 AIG Women's Open winner Hinako Shibuno and 2019 Toto champion Ai Suzuki declined LPGA membership that season. Shibuno, now a tour member, earned her card by qualifying through Q-Series in 2021.