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Friday
Jul052013

Houston Chronicle: Equal Pay For U.S. Open Winners

Here's something you don't see everyday, a newspaper editorial board advocating change in golf. In this case, it's the Houston Chronicle suggesting that winners of the U.S. mens and women's Opens play for the same purses.

A national championship is a national championship. The money should more fairly reflect that for U.S. golf's national championship. Wimbledon and the U.S. Tennis Open have decreed parity for men's and women's purses. Why not the USGA, the keeper of golf's history and grand traditions?

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Reader Comments (65)

How about a special 18 hole playoff every year between the two winners?

Winner take all.
07.5.2013 | Unregistered Commenterfyg
Because Wimbledon and the U.S. Tennis Open are one event, marketed as such and sold to tv networks as one. In golf they are not
07.5.2013 | Unregistered CommenterRyan
Do they charge as much for tickets to US Women's Opens as at the men's? Do as many people come?

End of.
07.5.2013 | Unregistered CommenterGhillie
this is a transparent attempt to rustle your jimmies, and everyone knows that golfer jimmies are the easiest to rustle
07.5.2013 | Unregistered CommenterMatt Cambro
Anything for page views I suppose. Gotta sell that print somehow.
07.5.2013 | Unregistered CommenterLeeWatson
There aren't better causes for the newspaper's editorial board to get behind? Must have been a slow news day. The Women's Open will never, ever be remotely in the same ballpark as the men. End of discussion.
07.5.2013 | Unregistered Commenterrgw
The tennis majors are singular events that include men and women and fall under the same TV contracts. The golf majors are completely independent and the Women's Open doesn't draw remotely the same kind of crowd or TV ratings.

Silly argument.
07.5.2013 | Unregistered CommenterFWIW
Geez, gender feminism is alive and well at the Houston Chronicle. And it's the kind Betty Friedan hated, the ignorant kind.
07.5.2013 | Unregistered CommenterD. maculata
Matt you made laugh out loud!

Joey "Jaws" Chestnut won the Nathan's Coney Island hot dog eating contest and was paid $10,000 for consuming 69 hot dogs (with buns) in 10 minutes. Sonya "The Black Widow" Thomas consumed 36 3/4 hot dogs in 10 mins to edge out Lydia "The Lovely" Lee by 3/4 of a dog...Sonya got $5 grand.

Same contest, same stage, I think Sonya got screwed!
07.5.2013 | Unregistered CommenterDTF
Men shouldn't have purses.
07.5.2013 | Unregistered CommenterForeright!
Interesting idea, not sure I buy it. Here's a question: what if the prize for winning the U.S. Open was $100. Would the pros still play it? It is a major, isn't it?
07.5.2013 | Unregistered CommenterThe O
I'm surprised no one has pointed out that there is no such thing as the *Mens* U.S. Open. It is simply "open"...to all comers, male or female.
07.5.2013 | Unregistered CommenterSierraFoothills
Chronicle, if it feels the need to editorialize on professional sport, should focus on piss poor Astros ownership and pathetic situation where a large number of fans can't watch the Astros or Rockets due to greedy cable operators.
07.5.2013 | Unregistered CommenterDubious
Agree with Del, where is the Houston Chronicle on the hotdog eating contest? The women put on a better show, mainly because Chesnut has no competition since Kobayashi no longer competes, the women were much closer to reversal of fortune than the men. The Chronicle needs to champion women's equality in this sport before it tackles something as complex as the difference in the men's and women's golfing Open.
SierraFoothills is right...any women (who qualifies) can enter the US Open and win, and they can enter the US Women's Open and win. Men only have one option.
07.5.2013 | Unregistered CommenterSteve
I agree with the chronicle.
I had no idea she only won $585k.

Sounds like y'all think the USGA's job is a business first, best for the game second.

Cheers
07.5.2013 | Unregistered CommenterMike Nuzzo
I'm frankly surprised Mike Nuzzo is the first to state an opinion in support of the idea.
Last week I was wondering, while watching some tennis, how long it would be before someone fronted the idea that the winner of the Women's US Open (golf) should win the same prize money as the Men's (golf). It's nowhere near as far fetched as most of you seem to think, there was a time tennis fans thought the same way many of you do, and look where they are now. There is no doubt if tennis was played in a big open field with unlimited room for spectators, more people would turn out for Federer vs. Nadal than for Williams vs. whomever.....so which is more popular has no bearing on it really.

I think SierraFoothills makes the most interesting point of all. Imagine a woman qualifying for, and then winning the US Open, at say Merion? would the suits let it happen? would they give her the winners check just the same?
07.5.2013 | Unregistered CommenterPress Agent
Christine Brennan pushed this idea for years to no avail...expect it to get revisited at Pinehurst with the back-to-backs. Women's Open is USGA's biggest financial loser and ABC once offered USGA more money for TV rights if it could drop the Women's Open. That's all you need to know. Forget it.
07.5.2013 | Unregistered CommenterMedia maven
When the USGA considered, about 15 years ago, making the prizes the same for the USO and the USWO the LPGA (with the support of its top players of the day) said 'no thanks' as that would skew their money list to the point that the USWO winner would most often win the money title. Additionally, the LPGA felt that such a large purse could discourage potential sponsors of their regular events from becoming actual sponsors.

@PressAgent, are you seriously asking if the USGA would prevent a female entrant from winning? They would be drooling over the attention their event would receive if a woman qualified -- let alone was in contention on Sunday.
07.5.2013 | Unregistered CommenterCarl Peterson
There's a little more to know...

When the USGA considered, about 15 years ago, making the purses equal the LPGA (and its stars at that time) were opposed to such a move as it would skew their money title. Furthermore, the LPGA was worried that potential sponsors would be frightened away by the large purse in the USWO.
07.5.2013 | Unregistered CommenterCarl Peterson
Where is Vijay when you need him?
07.5.2013 | Unregistered Commentermehstg
It would be interesting to know how the exact amount for each event's purse is determined.
Is it based on what the other majors pay or what the other events on the PGA Tour or LPGA pay?
Is it based on the amount of the respective revenues from US Open and US Women's Open?
Does Mike Davis have a dart board with large numbers lined on it? Or maybe a Ouija board?

Since the subject has been broached I must ask (facetiously), why doesn't the LPGA pay as large a purse for the winner of the LPGA Championship as the PGA does for the PGA Championship? Why doesn't the Women's British Open Championship pay as large a purse as the Open Championship? Where's Waldo?
07.5.2013 | Unregistered Commentergov. lepetomane
Just goes to show that its all about business for the USGA and they got nothing to do with the good of the game. and "while were young" is one of the most bland and confusing PR moves I've seen in a long time. "while were Young"? I have seen Caddyshack about 4 times and it is one of the most throwaway lines in the whole movie completely forgettable scene. How about "play faster"?
07.5.2013 | Unregistered Commentervwgolfer
@vwgolfer - 4 times huh, wow that is impressive - in 30 years since the movie has been out ? Since you are such a comedy expert, perhaps you will recognize this (throw away of course) line from one of Caddyshack's contemporaries: "Lighten Up Francis"
07.5.2013 | Unregistered CommenterBrianS
Those Texans are all about equal rights.
07.5.2013 | Unregistered Commentertlavin
Does anyone actually watch the LPGA on television? ... And who attends?

Why bother...
@Ted - short answer: 1) yes. 2) Lots of golf fans, I've been to plenty of them, and it is great golf/fan experience. Players are accessible and appreciative (Paula Creamer thanked my 10 year old daughter for following her for 18 holes once while signing an auto at the end). Fans are respectful and well behaved - I've never heard a "get in the hole" or "mashed potatoes" or any such idiocy at an LPGA event, and believe me, they serve beer. I've bought tix to this year's Solheim Cup in CO, taking my daughter, and frankly am looking forward to that event more than the US Open (mens) that I just attended.

btw, speaking of respectful, you could work on that a bit. They have lots of great/very good players who would tear up most of the local clubs folks on this site frequent.
07.5.2013 | Unregistered CommenterBrianS
@ Foreright! It is a European Carryall!

@ Ted B. If you didn't catch the Women's U.S. Open last week you missed a real treat -- great golf played on a very good golf course.

Just FYI
entries for 2013 Women's Open Championship 1,420
entries for 2013 USGA Open Championship 9,820
I think the women's open purse is the same as senior open.
07.5.2013 | Unregistered CommenterSmitty
The other thing that you have to consider is that women's tennis is huge TV draw, about the equal of the men, at least in the past:

U.S. OPEN MEN’S FINALS, HIGHEST RATED SINCE 1995:

1. 1999, Andre Agassi d. Todd Martin, 6.3

2. 2002, Pete Sampras d. Andre Agassi, 6.2

3. 1996, Pete Sampras d. Michael Chang, 6.1

U.S. OPEN WOMEN’S FINALS, HIGHEST RATED SINCE 1995:

1. 2001, Venus Williams d. Serena Williams, 6.8

2. 1999, Serena Williams d. Martina Hingis, 6.3

3. 1995, Steffi Graf d. Monica Seles, 5.2

If women's golf drew an audience like that, its prize money would be the equal of the men.

K
07.5.2013 | Unregistered Commenterkenoneputt
@ BrianS One of the best when Judge Smails tells his nephew Spaulidng at the half-way house, "You'll have nothing, and LIKE it".
I attend LPGA events in person every chance I get and find them more enjoyable than going to a PGA Tour event. Two guys in our regular rotation went to Sebonack on Sunday and both had a blast and came away extremely impressed.

S&T, the ladies winner at Coney Island only weighs 100lbs!
07.5.2013 | Unregistered CommenterDTF
The LPGA is not unwatchable, but the talent is as shallow as a birdbath. Sorry if that offends the small but rabid fans of that tour, but the ratings bear out the general state of malaise.
07.5.2013 | Unregistered Commentertlavin
The other thing that you have to consider is that women's tennis is huge TV draw, about the equal of the men, at least in the past:

U.S. OPEN MEN’S FINALS, HIGHEST RATED SINCE 1995:

1. 1999, Andre Agassi d. Todd Martin, 6.3

2. 2002, Pete Sampras d. Andre Agassi, 6.2

3. 1996, Pete Sampras d. Michael Chang, 6.1

U.S. OPEN WOMEN’S FINALS, HIGHEST RATED SINCE 1995:

1. 2001, Venus Williams d. Serena Williams, 6.8

2. 1999, Serena Williams d. Martina Hingis, 6.3

3. 1995, Steffi Graf d. Monica Seles, 5.2

If women's golf drew an audience like that, its prize money would be the equal of the men.

K
07.5.2013 | Unregistered Commenterkenoneputt
I call BS on Jones winning $60,000 on a Grand Slam bet. That a London bookmaker would even offer odds on something that in 1930 was so obscure, strikes me as ridiculous. One Google "source" has the bettor as Bobby Cruickshank. Another has it as Jones. The odds vary. The further one goes in attempt to actually verify it, the more scant it gets. It officially replaces Hogan walking Carnoustie backward as the silliest urban legend going.
07.5.2013 | Unregistered CommenterYours always
Wow, Carl Peterson, you liked what you said so much you said it two different ways back to back. Very impressive. Made no sense, but very impressive none the less.
07.5.2013 | Unregistered CommenterAli-gator
brian whoppee ding dong. your comment about my comment is silly. While were young is a horrible marketing plan. Its stupid and childish. it will have no little effect on slow play. its a half ass attempt by the losers in far hills to be funny.its a failure as a pr move. And I am no comedy expert but judging from your comments you have no sense of humor and seem a little farty.
07.5.2013 | Unregistered Commentervwgolfer
The women are playing for wons, right?
07.5.2013 | Unregistered CommenterJRP
I guess its obvious to most that the women's game in tennis has needle moving Americans in the mix and the men's game has been missing that critical element for a little while. Another Tiger factor?
07.5.2013 | Unregistered CommenterAmen Coroner
tlavin, I'm interested to hear more about your thoughts on the LPGA....what do you mean when you say "the talent is as shallow as a birdbath"? And the "ratings"...compared to what?
07.5.2013 | Unregistered CommenterDTF

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