Record LPGA prize money but still far from par

LOS ANGELES • The LPGA Tour season starts today, launching a year which will see the world's best women golfers compete for US$75 million (S$101.03 million) in prize money - a record but still a pittance compared to the men on the PGA Tour.

The LPGA purses, averaging more than US$2 million per event over the 33 official-money tournaments, are nothing to scoff at, even if they are not comparable to the men.

Total prize money on the PGA Tour will be more than US$400 million, including bonus money for the season-long FedExCup points race.

LPGA commissioner Mike Whan has long been sanguine about the disparity, which he says reflects the higher television ratings for men's golf in the United States.

And Pernilla Lindberg, who is on the LPGA's player board, says the women nevertheless can focus only on their own product.

She said on Tuesday: "We're trying to catch up but they're moving further ahead which, in one way, is sad. But I'm happy with the purses we (have) and we're for sure going in the right direction.

"It's going to be my 11th year on Tour and I feel every year it's getting better."

The champion of the 2018 ANA Inspiration Major event is part of an elite 26-woman field, all winners in the last two seasons, at this week's Tournament of Champions at the Four Seasons Club in Orlando.

Her form dipped last year as she made only 12 cuts in 24 starts and earned US$100,000 - hardly enough to cover expenses. After slipping to 160th in the world rankings, she will also need to improve sharply to be one of the two Swedish qualifiers for the Tokyo Olympics.

REUTERS

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A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on January 16, 2020, with the headline 'Record LPGA prize money but still far from par'. Print Edition | Subscribe