Editorial Calls For USGA To Distribute Even Prize Money In Men's, Women's U.S. Opens
Inbee Park's victory at the U.S. Women's Open last month "netted her barely more than one third" of the $1.4M Justin Rose took home for winning the U.S. Open, and a HOUSTON CHRONICLE editorial noted a national championship "is a national championship" and the winner's purse "should more fairly reflect that for U.S. golf's national championship." Wimbledon and the U.S. Open tennis tournament have "decreed parity for men's and women's purses." The editorial: "Why not the USGA, the keeper of golf's history and grand traditions?" Bringing the "purses for the U.S. Women's Open championship in line with the men's winner would be important symbolism in a game where symbols and traditions matter much" (CHRON.com, 7/5). Golf.com Senior Producer Jeff Ritter, as part of a weekly e-mail roundtable, wrote USGA execs "could make a great statement by making that move, and they surely have the cash." SI's Michael Bamberger wrote it is a "nice theory and a worthy goal, but prize money is not a place to practice equal opportunity." It is "rooted in TV deals, viewership, ticket sales," and the men "dominate in those categories." Golf Magazine's Joe Passov wrote the "reason the tennis women achieved equality at Wimbledon and the U.S. Open is that they were part of the same tournament as the men, and in some/many cases, were the stronger attraction, even if they were on the court for less time." SI's Mark Godich: "I'm all for the women getting what they deserve, but until they start attracting anywhere near the crowds, sponsors and TV ratings, they don't have much of a case. That said, it would be nice to see the USGA do something to at least close the gap in the purses." SI's Gary Van Sickle wrote it is a "ludicrous suggestion," as the two events "don't generate anything remotely similar in levels of interest or revenue" (GOLF.com, 7/7).
SENIOR CIRCUIT: GOLFWEEK's Forecaddie wonders why there is no U.S. Senior Women's Open despite the USGA creating the U.S. Senior Open in '80. USGA Managing Dir of Communications Joe Goode said, "It is our current professional assessment that such an event is not a viable championship at this time." He cited the finances needed in "sustaining an event," including landing a "host site to underpinning a purse to televising the golf." He also noted a USGA concern is "whether such an event would attract a deep-enough field." Former LPGA member Jane Blalock, who has been campaigning for a U.S. Senior Women's Open since the '90s, said, "We'd just like the opportunites to shoot down the USGA's concerns" (GOLFWEEK, 7/5 issue).
NUMBERS GAME: In Winston-Salem, Scott Hamilton writes the "table is set" for Park to win her fourth straight major next month at the Ricoh Women’s British Open at St. Andrews and a "massive marketing campaign should be revving its engine." But the LPGA in '10 "decided to elevate the Evian Masters to major-championship status," giving the Tour five official majors. If Park wins at St. Andrews, will she have "completed the Grand Slam, or will one pin remain standing?" ESPN's Judy Rankin said, “If Inbee should be able to do this at St. Andrews, it’s a grand slam to me and I think a grand slam to the vast majority of people in golf" (WINSTON-SALEM JOURNAL, 7/8).