More 33% Returns Please
Every investor knows any time you get a 33% return on an investment it’s a good deal. So news that the 2022 Trust Golf Women’s Scottish Open prize fund at Dundonald Links is to offer a $2 million prize fund, a $500,000 increase on this year, is great news for European women’s golf.
More of the same and we might just bridge the enormous gulf that exists between men’s and women’s golf in Europe sooner rather than later.
The sums currently being thrown around in the men’s game are truly eye watering. So much so you wonder if our top players are actually worth the money. Let’s not even contemplate the nose bleed sums Saudi Arabia is thinking of spending on a new professional golf tour, or even the vast pay rises already well-paid PGA Tour players are set to receive next year. Just a straightforward comparison between the men’s and women’s European Tours makes for depressing reading for any woman dreaming of equality in professional golf.
The European Tour has just announced a mega million dollar deal with DP World to become title sponsor. Changing the European Tour to the DP World Tour means minimum prize funds of $2 million next year; a DP World Tour Championship with an eight-figure prize fund, the first in European Tour history; significant investment in the European Challenge Tour; and total prize money for “regular” tournaments worth $140 million, rising to more than $200 million including the majors and World Golf Championships.
European women golfers must look on and think: we’re getting left further behind!
This week’s DP World Tour Championship, Dubai is worth $9 million, and players like Jon Rahm, Viktor Hovland and Justin Rose have opted not to play: they have so much money they have that luxury. The season ending Andalucía Costa Del Sol Open De Espana on the Ladies European Tour is worth just €600,000.
Emily Kristine Pedersen won last year’s LET Andalucía finale and earned a first place cheque of €90,000. Matthew Fitzpatrick made €2,481,627 for winning the 2021 DP World Tour Championship, Dubai.
You can bet there will be few, if any, members eligible for the final event of this year’s LET schedule who’ll give it a miss as Rahm, Hovland and Rose have done in Dubai.
They can’t afford to.
The LET has received a boost in tournament purses since the LPGA became involved at the beginning of 2020. The AIG Women’s Open was worth $5.8 million this year, up $1.3 million from its previous price tag of $4.5 million. It moves to $6.8 million next year, welcome news for the women’s game. By comparison, the world’s top men played for an $11.5 million Open Championship purse at Royal St George's in July, and will compete for at least that much next year, if not more.
While the European Tour will feature regular European Tour events worth a minimum of $2 million, there are still tournaments on the LET worth just €200,000. There were six on this year’s schedule alone. Indeed, five of the first six tournaments on this year’s schedule were €200,000 tournaments.
No wonder so many LET players struggle to finance their dreams.
Trust Golf’s decision to up the ante at Dundonald Links is welcome news, but it won’t be lost on most golf fans that the corresponding men’s Scottish Open, the Genesis Scottish Open at The Renaissance Club, is worth $8 million.
Suffice it to say, a lot of 33% percent increases are needed before Europe’s women professionals can stand shoulder to shoulder with their male counterparts.
#JustSaying: “People often ask what the hardest part of turning pro is for good amateur golfers. There are the obvious things – struggling financially, finding a place to play, dealing with loneliness.” Meghan MacLaren
Photo (of 2021 winner Ryan O'Toole) courtesy of Trust Golf Women's Scottish Open