The IX: Golf Thursday with Carly Grenfell, August 22, 2019
Money in Golf —Juli Inkster interview — Must-click links in women's golf
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Pay Them More
Head on down to my Tweet of the Week—a real gem!
Can you actually believe that? If you follow golf, you know the FedEx Cup Playoffs have been going on that ultimately lead up to the TOUR Championship, which kicks off today. I won’t bother explaining the format of the Playoffs or the TOUR Championship itself, but feel free to see how it works if you’re interested! Anyways—not exactly my point. My point is the payouts for this event.
As Marina Alex lays out, winning the FedEx Cup would put you at fourth on the LPGA career (yes, career, not a typo) money list. This is one event. We’re talking career money earned. This is behind Annika Sorenstam, Karrie Webb and Cristie Kerr WHO HAVE PLAYED OVER 400 TOURNAMENTS IN THEIR GOLF CAREERS. Sorry for shouting. But isn’t that wild? You could probably make the same argument for other women’s professional sports if you compare what the men are making compared to the women. It isn’t about paying the women exactly what the men make. It’s about closing the gap and sponsors stepping up to do that.
With all of this in mind, had a great conversation with some co-workers on this topic. My boss asked if women’s golfers make the most money, or have the opportunity to make the most money, out of any other women’s professional sport. Don’t quote me on this, but I think tennis is the highest-earning sport and golf is right behind. That isn’t exactly the argument, though, in my mind. The argument is the enormous disparity between the men and women, and at least providing opportunities for players on the LPGA to earn as much as the men on the PGA TOUR.
I know everyone says don’t read the comments, but it’s actually one of my favorite things to do on tweets like this. My favorite (sarcasm) was the guy who said “You get to play a game for a living. Be grateful for your talent and drive to succeed. Btw – the last place player will receive 4x my annual salary as a high school math teacher but I don’t think anyone will care.” Again, not the point, pal.
Here are some other great ones: “Women can play on the PGA TOUR! Come earn the money. Men cannot play on the LPGA tour, sexist.” And “Put the professional blondes (not naming any names) in mini skirts and tiny tank tops in the final group every Sunday and your ratings and prize money would skyrocket. I’m not saying this is right but it is reality.” And “Just remember there is no such thing as a “Men’s golf Tour” this is open competition. Women could technically compete for these prize pools every week. It is the Women’s golf tour that is discriminatory.”
There were also some awesome replies, don’t get me wrong. But these ones you just have to shake your head and move on. Quite a few people pointed to things like sponsorship, viewership, quality of play and fanbase. If all of these things go up, then the purses will go up, they say. But my question is—how do you increase sponsorship, viewership and a fanbase if the LPGA isn’t being shown on major sports networks outside of Golf Channel? Fans need more options to actually watch and the LPGA needs more exposure for people to actually give it a chance.
Sponsors need to step up, too. It’s about investing and being patient for those investments to pay off. I loved one comment that said Arnold Palmer put the golf world on his shoulders and the LPGA had and has that in Annika Sorenstam; that the LPGA’s time is coming. The LPGA is also younger than the PGA TOUR, so with time, I think these disparities will lessen.
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This Week in Women’s Golf
Reminder: First, the underlined words are the links. Second. CLICK these, even if you’ve already read them. Clicks = Attention from editors, producers and webmasters. Third, if you want to push out stuff you’ve written or read, email me! firstname.lastname@example.org
There’s a 12-year-old (yes, 12) competing in the CP Women’s Open (CPWO) this week!
The CP Women’s Open tees it up today! Check out the featured groups and tee times.
Michelle Liu will be the youngest to ever compete in the CP Women’s Open.
This company is ending its sponsorship with the LPGA after citing losses.
Mariajo Uribe is out for the rest of the season after slipping on a wet floor.
Suzann Pettersen was sick of golf before she went on maternity leave.
United States Solheim Cup Captain Juli Inkster isn’t sleeping well.
We will see this week if Brooke Henderson can win back-to-back CPWO.
Interesting take on how high school golfers are utilizing golf technology to practice.
The distance revolution is coming to women’s golf.
The European junior Solheim Cup team is confirmed. Here’s the team!
Lexi Thompson and Morgan Pressel talk the new event coming to South Florida.
Inkster takes a deeper dive into who it comes down to for her two captain’s picks.
Tweet of the Week
Five at The IX: Juli Inkster
Let’s shift gears from payouts and money to more Solheim Cup talk! The CP Women’s Open is the final event for players to qualify for the United States Solheim Cup team. Juli Inkster will get two captain’s picks and there are still a couple other spots up for grabs points wise. Inkster will be locked in in Toronto and will make her decision on Sunday after play.
Q: You have a big decision to make this weekend. How do you balance being a competitor this week but also watching?
Juli Inkster: Yeah, I’ve watched enough. I don’t want to watch anymore. It’s going to be hard. This year is going to be hard. I almost wish I had zero picks or four. Two is going to be tough. I have a young team; a lot of rookies with a lot of fire in their belly. That’s what I like to see. I got my core group that have been on the team. Sunday is going to be really hard. I’ve been not sleeping great because I’m trying to figure out what’s best for the team. There is so much up for grabs on Sunday I really have to wait and see how it plays out before I even think about who I pick.
Q: You still have players who could play their way in for Solheim Cup points. How do you sit back when you can’t really control this?
Juli Inkster: I have no control. They’ve had two years to make the team. I just have to sit back and really, my job is to take the two best players. The two that are playing the best and can help the team win over in Scotland. Beanie [Catriona Matthew] has a very strong team, a veteran team. And we’re playing away, which is really hard. Even though we’ve won the last two we’re definitely the underdogs. We can go over there and give it our best shot and see what happens.
Q: How do you scout Europe?
Juli Inkster: They’re strong. They’ve got a lot of pieces to the puzzle—long hitters, great putters. The golf course is more of a second-shot golf course and they have some good iron hitters. And they have a lot of veterans; people that have been there. It won’t be a big stage for them, they are used to it. We will have to play our best to bring that trophy back over.
Q: Were you surprised by any of the picks made on the other side?
Juli Inkster: Not really. I kind of had an inkling that she was going to pick Suzann. Just from talking and listening. I think she had to take Celine Boutier and had to take Bronte Law. Both had great years and are playing well. Jody—a solid ball striker, a good team player. I think her last one was why not? Suzann is a competitor, she’s feisty, she stirs up the pot a little bit. You kind of need one of those on your team.
Q: Are you looking for any leadership in your picks and maybe some of those intangible qualities?
Juli Inkster: Yeah, if I can get someone that’s playing well and a leader, that’s a bonus. There’s really a lot that goes into these picks. It’s not just someone I put in a hat. It’s how can I pair them? Who do they play well with? What kind of person are they in the locker room? What kind of teammate are they? There is a lot that goes into it. I’m just kind of waiting to see someone step up. I hate waiting until the last tournament, but it’s come down to the last tournament.