Nelly Korda has recovered from a health scare to defend her Women's PGA title ©Getty Images

Golfers competing in the KPMG Women’s PGA Championship this week have been told that the total prize money has been doubled, only days before the first players tee off on Thursday.

The tournament is the first women’s major to be staged at the Congressional Course, Bethesda in Maryland but the course has been remodelled since Rory McIlroy won the men’s US Open in 2011 and now has much wider fairways.

The purse for the championship, which is the third women’s major of the season, has been raised to $9 million (£7.3 million/€8.5 million) and Sunday’s winner will take away $1.35 million (£1.1 million/€1.2 million), an increase of 50 per cent on last year.

The increase was hailed by Ladies Professional Golf Association (LPGA) commissioner Mollie Marcoux Samaan.

"Doubling the purse from $4.5 million to $9 million is another example of KPMG and the PGA of America's dogged commitment to the LPGA and our athletes," Samaan said.

"We could not be more grateful for their steadfast leadership in growing the women’s game and providing our athletes and future athletes with opportunities commensurate with their world-class talent."

"I knew it was going to be big, but not quite this big," admitted Stacy Lewis, a two-time major champion, who takes her place in a field of 156.

The starting line-up features 99 of the top 100 in the LPGA money list.

Australia's Minjee Lee won the women's US Open earlier this month  ©Getty Images
Australia's Minjee Lee won the women's US Open earlier this month ©Getty Images

They include the defending champion and Olympic gold medallist Nelly Korda, now back on the tour after a blood clot needed emergency surgery in April.

"I'm just happy to be out here playing competitive golf," Korda said. 

"I gave myself a chance last week. 

"If you told me that when I was laying in the emergency room, I would have definitely been very happy with that."

She returned for the US Open where she shot a two under par 282 to finish in a tie for eighth and only lost after, in a three-way playoff in the Meijer LPGA Classic last Sunday to Jennifer Kupcho at Blythefield Country Club.

Kupcho also won the Chevron Championship back in April and is expected to mount a strong challenge over the next four days.

The field also includes Australia’s Minjee Lee, who won the US Open earlier in the month. 

"Two majors in one season, that's just overtaken my dreams, so I think it would be really, really special," Lee said.