SOUTHERN PINES, N.C. — Stephanie Meadow finished third in her professional debut at the 2014 U.S. Women’s Open on Pinehurst No. 2. She earned $285,102 for her efforts, a massive sum for a recent college graduate.

“I had a rough time in ’16 and ’17,” said Meadow of the years immediately following her father Robert’s death. “That money carried me through that.”

The U.S. Women’s Open purse has long had a life-changing impact, not just for winners, but for many like Meadow, who cash the biggest checks of their careers. Some, like her, won’t yet be tour members.

This week, that will likely happen more than ever with an historic $10 million purse on the table thanks in large part to the addition of ProMedica, the championship’s first presenting sponsor.

Brittany Lang echoes the thoughts of many of her peers when she says playing on the LPGA was never about the money. When she won this championship in 2016, she remembers walking in the parking lot with her mom and brother and asking, “What do you win for this? I don’t even know.”

Brittany Lang holds the trophy after winning 2016 U.S. Women's Open at CordeValle Golf Club.

It was always about the dream.

“Now that I’m close to hanging it up,” said Lang, “and I have a daughter, and you start thinking about money and you play worse.”

Lang made $810,000 when she won the Open at CordeValle.

The winner of this week’s championship will earn $1.8 million. The player who finishes runner-up will earn $1,080,000. That’s more than last year’s winner, Yuka Saso, who earned $1 million.

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