Why Women Pros Play for Much Smaller Purses than Men Pros

We all know that men's professional golf tours pay a lot more than women's professional golf tours. The differences are stark. An entire purse on the Symetra Tour, the LPGA's feeder, might only be equal to the first-place check of the Web.com Tour tournament.

So there's much praise this week for the news that the USGA is bumping up the purse for the 2014 US Women's Open from around $3.25 million to around $4 million. That's great! I wish all women's tournaments paid more, and young women touring pros didn't have to struggle so much in pursuit of their dreams.

But the new, improved US Women's Open purse is still only less than half that of the US Open. Why is that? Is it terribly unfair?

Writing in the most recent issue of Golf Digest, former USGA director David Fay passed along a couple facts that tell you all you need to know about the money differences between men's and women's tour golf:

  • Every year, the US Open generates revenue that matches approximately 90-percent of the USGA's annual budget;
  • Every year, the US Women's Open loses $4 million to $5 million.

And that's all you need to know. As much as fans of women's golf (and I am a huge LPGA fan) wish otherwise, women's pro golf in the United States (and much of the rest of the world, excluding some Asian countries) is a tiny, niche product that simply isn't a moneymaker. Unless that changes (and it won't, at least not anytime soon), there will always be a huge pay discrepancy.

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