The USGA's recent U.S. Open purse bump sounds as it was influenced by PGA Tour player talk at recent player meetings, reports Rex Hoggard for GolfChannel.com.
Players feel they are still underpaid based on TV deals, with the Fox-USGA's known price tag making it easy for them to do some math and realize they are not paid proportionally with revenues. However, a $25 million purse would make a mess of things. So...
Instead, the players at the meeting focused on how the additional revenue could possibly be used, from additional funding for Web.com Tour purses, to rookie stipends or even a caddie retirement plan, which is currently a hot-button topic because of an ongoing lawsuit between the circuit and a group of caddies.
According to the USGA’s financial statement for 2016 about half (49 percent) of its revenues ($98.7 million) came from broadcast rights fees, while about half (46 percent or $91.5 million) of its operating expenses were related to its “open championships.”
And if it's not bad enough for the Executive Committee to possibly have to face giving up some of their profits, it gets more intriguing:
One player who spoke at the meeting and requested anonymity because of the potential for future negotiations said the concern goes deeper than simply a fair share of the TV rights, and that players want a say in future venues and how the championship is run, pointing out last year’s rules snafus at both the U.S. Open and Women’s Open.
It’s unclear how far the players would be willing to take a potential negotiation with the USGA or any of the game’s other ruling bodies.
“Let’s be honest, we’re not going to boycott a major,” one player said.