Dollars no sense: Golf's long history of shortchanging women Apr 9, 2016 16:33:28 GMT
Post by 18majors on Apr 9, 2016 16:33:28 GMT
Oddly, the USGA values the women's and men's U.S. Amateur champions equally -- with a trophy and the honor of representing the United States as its national champion for the year. But things shift when a golfer turns professional. Work your body, mind and heart and become the best for that day, for that week, for that year and -- the USGA says -- a woman's victory is not equal to a man's.
Equal pay in golf is not about the number of zeros on the giant cardboard check, just as it wasn't in 2007 when Wimbledon became the final major in tennis to establish equal pay. It is about the message it sends to kids. It sails from the boardroom to the 18th green.
"The USGA takes the lead on so many things," said Smith, one of three living founders of the LPGA. "They could take the lead and have the prize money be the same for the men and women and then they would be doing something very special."
The purse at last year's U.S. Women's Open was the largest in women's golf at $4.5 million. A USGA spokesperson said it is "appropriate for the prominence of the championship, and reflects our desire to attract the greatest players in the world. It also recognizes the worldwide prize money landscape in women's golf, which is correlated to the overall revenue generated by women's golf tournaments."
The USGA would not share a breakdown of the financials for individual tournaments, but it reported $103 million in revenue from its 2014 championships. That same year it spent $42 million on salaries, $4.4 million on tents, $1.6 million on "transportation services" and another $1.6 million on generators at Pinehurst alone. In 2013 the USGA signed a 12-year $1.1 billion TV deal with FOX, which started in 2015. That is more than $92 million a year for the rights to televise the USGA's championships, including the men's and women's U.S. Opens.
The money is there. So is the opportunity to grow the game.