CHARLESTON, S.C. — Earlier this week, USGA officials announced that both the U.S. Open and U.S. Women's Open purses would be bumped up by $500,000 each. The most notable nugget in this announcement was that the first-place winner's check for the Women's Open would be $1 million, up from last year's $900,000 prize won by Ariya Jutanugarn at Shoal Creek. The $1 million prize is the second-biggest on the LPGA Tour, the first being $1.5 million, which goes to the winner of the CME Group Tour Championship.
In other words, South Korea's Jeongeun Lee6 picked a very good week to get her first LPGA Tour victory. Her one-under 70 on Sunday at Country Club of Charleston made her the 74th winner of the U.S. Women's Open, and the first to earn seven figures for her effort. Lee was asked how she plans to spend the $1 million in her victory press conference, and, judging by her answer, it's going to last her a VERY long time.
"So my goal was, if I win the tournament, I can eat ramen," said Lee, eliciting plenty of laughter in the media center. "That was my goal. If I finish the top five, I can buy shoes. But I can buy shoes and eat ramen. So it's a double."
We doubt that Lee is talking about Cup of Noodles given she's from South Korea, but unless she eats the most expensive ramen on the planet, the $1 million will last a lifetime if that and shoes are all she's spending it on. At the rate she's racking up top finishes (which will soon become victories), there is plenty more ramen and shoes in her future.