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The Colorado Open makes history with equal purse to women and men

The tournament teamed up with local Denver company Inspirato to offer a $100,000 payout to the each of the individual professional winners.

DENVER — In a monumental day for Colorado golf, the Colorado Open has paired up with Denver-based luxury travel brand Inspirato to offer some serious compensation for its winners, and for the first time ever, equal compensation.

"It's groundbreaking, actually," Executive Vice President of Inspirato Care Michele Delman said. "With our sponsorship, The Colorado Open becomes the first state open to offer equal purses for both men's and women's events."

The three Open championship events will be renamed the "Inspirato Colorado Open Championships."

Both the men’s and the women’s championships will offer equal purses of $250,000, with the winners each earning $100,000—both records for state opens.

The Inspirato Colorado Senior Open purse will increase to $90,000, with the winner earning $18,000—also a record for senior state opens.

Former 2005 winner Erin Houtsma said her $10,000 award, for comparison, was life-changing.

"I bought a car. I lived in said car as I drove across the country on the Developmental Tour," she said.

2020 Colorado Women's Open winner and current LPGA star Jennifer Kupcho explained how costly it is for upcoming golfers on the LPGA tour, and why a win here could now be significant.

"If you're traveling week to week, you pay close to $1,000 for a hotel. I mean every week is close to $3,000 depending how many tournaments you play," Kupcho said. "It's a very costly lifestyle, but also very rewarding to be able to have the impact that we have."

RELATED: Jennifer Kupcho wins Colorado Women's Open

Although Houtsma only competes as an amateur currently, she still celebrates this moment for the next generation of female professional golfers.

"It still feels like this huge weight and this huge victory that we won, that we finally did it, that we made some disruption, and we made some noise, and got an equal say in the conversation," she said.

Inspirato will also become the largest annual donor to the First Tee - Green Valley Ranch program, supporting its mission of using golf to teach life skills to young people throughout the Denver and Colorado communities.

"The Colorado Open has long been recognized as one of the premier state opens in the nation, and today we’re building on that legacy through this history-making partnership with Inspirato," said Molly Greenblatt, Board chairperson of the Colorado Open Golf Foundation, which administers the Open championships. "With Inspirato’s support, we will continue to make a difference in the lives of thousands of young people in the northeast metro area through our First Tee program and throughout the state with the Golf in Schools program. And together, we will also help raise the bar with what we believe to be the first professional golf tournaments in the world to offer equal purses for both the men’s and women’s events. Speaking as a woman golfer who has played in this event and now leads the Board, I could not be prouder and more excited."

RELATED: Commentary: March Madness still not equitable for men's and women's tournaments

Founded in 1964, the Colorado Open Championships consist of three annual golf tournaments: the Colorado Open, the Colorado Women’s Open, and the Colorado Senior Open. All three tournaments are played at the Green Valley Ranch Golf Club in Denver. Over the years, the Colorado Open has hosted some of the greatest names in the history of golf, including Sam Snead, Billy Casper, Hale Irwin, and Phil Mickelson. The Colorado Women’s Open has hosted superstars like Liselotte Neumann, Carlota Ciganda, Sophia Popov, and Denver hometown hero Jennifer Kupcho.

"Giving back to our community has been part of Inspirato’s DNA since we were founded here in Denver more than 10 years ago," said Brent Handler, Co-Founder and Chief Executive Officer of Inspirato. "With our growing golf platform and deep Colorado roots, partnering with the Colorado Opens as their new title sponsor was a natural fit. We’re grateful for the opportunity to support the First Tee program at Green Valley Ranch, which is well-known for its impact on so many kids here in the metro area. And as a company with an employee team that is nearly 70% women, we’re thrilled to sponsor this watershed event that recognizes the importance of equal pay for women athletes."


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