Womens US Open gets under way at the Country club of Charleston on Thursday but the $5.5 m prize money is dwarfed by the mens of $12.5 m
The USGA ordinarily has to wait until June before the annual necessity to hunker down as criticism flies from all directions. The men’s US Open, as beset by objections relating to course setup or regulations matters, has become the most controversial tournament in golf. At Pebble Beach next month, another fevered chapter will surely play out.
This week’s US Women’s Open, which takes place in Charleston, also under the guidance of the USGA, has been afforded a noisy backdrop of its own. An anonymous survey be put into practice by Golf Digest- interviewing players, caddies, coach-and-fours and the like from golf’s top level- created all manner of stinging rebukes towards the USGA. Whether or not the cloak of anonymity enhances or embellishes standpoints is up for debate but the overriding message was clear; golf’s ruling body in the US has few prominent advocates. The analysis was scathing.
Within this survey came the revelation that resulting male players were seriously unhappy at what they perceive as a disproportionately low increase in the US Open prize purse after a 2015 Tv bargain delivered roughly $100 m per year to the USGA. Last year’s US Open at Shinnecock Hills had a purse of $12 m, with Brooks Koepka walking off with $2.16 m. The television deal in question coverings the male and female competitions.
Unwittingly, this raises questions directly relating to this week at the Country Club of Charleston. The US Women’s Open, a USGA operation, carried a award money of$ 5m until a $500,000 increase for this year was announced on Tuesday. The win will collect$ 1m. So as golf seeks to enhance diversity and portray itself as a forward-thinking sport, a fiscal gulf exists between what are equivalent male and female tournaments.
The US Open does carry the largest prize in women’s golf but this is an unsatisfactory scenario. The issue seemed even more stark as the USGA followed up the announcement with similar in relation to Pebble Beach. The humen will now play for $ 12.5 m. Even if equal pay remains a leap of faith, the gulf between golf’s US Opens- operated by the same organiser- is huge.