Inami Monet (JPN), winner of the U.S. Women’s Professional Golf (LPGA) Tour’s Toto Japan Classic in Japan, will join the LPGA Tour as a rookie next year.
Monet made the announcement at the official press conference for the Japan Ladies Professional Golf (JLPGA) Tour’s Itoen Women’s Golf Tournament (100 million yen purse) at Great Island Club (par 72, 6741 yards) in Naganan-cho, Chiba Prefecture on Monday. Monet, who said she would not accept an LPGA Tour membership immediately after winning last week’s tournament but would “discuss it with her team,” officially announced her move to the United States after several days of deliberation.
If she had joined the LPGA Tour immediately after her victory, she would have joined the ranks of Minami Katsu and Yuna Nishimura as a rookie this year, adding 500 points and $300,000 to her CME Globe points and money list. In addition, if she applies by the afternoon of the 13th, the day after the tour’s final event, her points and money will not be counted this year and her rookie year will begin next year.
“I thought I would continue to play on the JLPGA Tour, but now that I’ve won the new rights to the Toto Japan Classic, I think it’s nice to be able to say that I fought on the U.S. Tour when I retire,” Monet said of the LPGA Tour challenge. “However, I will not give up on my original goal of earning a permanent JLPGA seeding, but will put it on hold for a while,” she added.
“I am encouraged by the fact that my trainer and caddie are willing to help me,” she added, “I have a history of back pain, so I am a little nervous about traveling long distances, but I am encouraged by the fact that my team will support me as hard as they do in Japan.”
Monet, 24, is in his fifth year on tour. He has increased his win total every year since his rookie year in 2019. In 2021, she won the JLPGA with eight wins in a season. Last year, she added two wins, but this year, with four swing corrections, she finished outside the top 20 on the money list. In addition to her 13 wins on the JLPGA Tour, she won a silver medal in golf at the 2021 Tokyo Olympics in a playoff with Lydia Ko.
Among Japanese players, Ai Suzuki won the Toto Japan Classic in 2019 to earn a spot on the LPGA Tour, but gave it up. In July of the same year, Hinako Shibuno won the AIG British Women’s Open, and has been playing since last year through the U.S. Qualifying School, two years after her victory. Yuka Saso, who won the U.S. Women’s Open in 2021, was immediately accepted as a member. 캡틴토토
In recent years, Japanese women in their early 20s have been more aggressive about making the LPGA Tour. In addition to the huge prize money, it’s the biggest stage in the world, and the JLPGA Association is very supportive. The window of opportunity has definitely opened for players. Japanese media outlets such as Alba have welcomed Monet’s decision to win in Japan and earn a direct ticket to the United States.