R&A strikes perfect tone with announcement of fantastic purse | LPGA

Money is important. Ask any player on the LPGA Tour or Ladies European Tour what she wants, and if it’s not at the top, you will not get far down the list until you get to “raised purses.” So what R&A announced Wednesday qualifies as a big deal.

If you missed it, Martin Slumbers, CEO of R&A, told the world on Wednesday that the wallet for the AIG Women’s Open from now on is $ 5.8 million, an increase of $ 1.3 million. Next year, it will rise at least another million to no less than $ 6.8 million. Currently, this is the largest single-tournament purse in women’s golf and a major achievement for R&A and women’s games as a whole.

But as you probably learned in Sunday school, or perhaps through life’s heart disease, money is not everything. Slumbers, in his honor, recognized just as much.

“There should never be a race,” Slumbers said. “This is not a competition. This is about moving in one direction. And everyone has to move at their own pace. ”

He’s right. The last thing anyone will do is go to a sponsor who has poured their heart and soul into an event and said, ‘Hey, R&A ponies north for $ 6 million. What do you have?’ Communities and business partners sponsoring the LPGA Tour and LET bring professional golf to parts of the world that would otherwise never experience it. They expose young girls to the greatest female golfers in the world, up close and personal. No one wants to add unnecessary pressure to these sponsors. No one wants these events to potentially disappear.

Market forces dictate compensation in any profession. And scarcity drives the price. Has always; always will. The economic laws are like the law of gravity. You may not believe in them, but if you fall in the driveway, it will still hurt.

The good news is that the world has woken up to the value of women’s sports in general and women’s golf in particular.

Have there been better stories than those found in the women’s fight last year? From Sophia Popov, who was the author of the sporting moment of the decade a year ago when she won the AIG Women’s Open at the Royal Troon, to Patty Tavatanakit, who jumped on the field at ANA Inspiration, and Nelly Korda, who won the KPMG Women’s PGA Championship, vaulted to Nr. 1 on the Rolex rankings and winning an Olympic gold medal in six weeks, few sports have run the drama of the LPGA Tour, and no one has done so with better athletes.

Has there been a more convincing fourth place in any sport than what Aditi Ashok put together at the Olympics?

Has there been more week-long drama than what we saw at the Bank of Hope LPGA Match-Play that hosted Shadow Creek and won by Allie Ewing on her one-year wedding anniversary?

Is there a better Cinderella story in sports than what we saw of Matilda Castren, who needed an LET win to qualify as a potential Solheim Cup pick and got it done with a win at the Gant Ladies Open in his home country Finland?

How about the 60 Jessica Korda fired while playing with NFL star Larry Fitzgerald and TV news anchor Bret Baier? Have you seen better this year?

Minjee Lee closes with a 64 and plays his last five holes of 4 under par to force a playoff and eventually win the Amundi Evian Championship.

Yuka Saso gathers from five shots down nine holes to play to win the US Women’s Open.

Ariya Jutanugarn wins in her home country Thailand for the first time.

And let’s not forget Annika Sorenstam, who came out of a 13-year retirement to capture the US Senior Women’s Open in her first attempt.

The ladies game is as good a place as it has ever been. Fans know that. Sponsors know that. Television executives are beginning to realize this. And the market responds.

“We’ve been lucky with the team we have, with the championship we have, to be able to move at the pace we want to move,” Slumbers said of the purse climb. “I know I’m not the only one who shares this desire – and I know there are a lot of people who work very hard to move in the same direction – but it does require a lot of people working together on an event. , and great sponsors, as well as good media and get spectators to come and see, to be able to (what we have done with the purse). And I hope we create a ripple, the same as other ripples have been created before. But that’s our pace. ”

Others will follow. Meanwhile, players and fans will continue to drive the demand, which is being filled as the best players in the world continue to get even better.

You know what happens from there. It’s a law. Like gravity.

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