While the CME Offers a $7M Relief, LPGA’s Disparity With PGA Tour and LIV Golf Still Reiterates a Massive Scare


LPGA, Golf Damen KPMG Women s PGA, Golf Herren Championship – Second Round Jun 23, 2023 Springfield, New Jersey, USA Lilia Vu reacts after playing a shot on the 4th hole during the second round of the KPMG Women s PGA Championship golf tournament. Springfield New Jersey USA, EDITORIAL USE ONLY PUBLICATIONxINxGERxSUIxAUTxONLY Copyright: xJohnxJonesx 20230623_jla_ja1_146
The LPGA Tour has increased the total purse this year. Compared to 2010, when the total purse of 36 LPGA Tour events was near $49 million, the figure stands at $101.4 million in 2023. Only six years ago, it was $30 million less. The increase in purses has been reflected in the majors as well. Landing sponsorships with AIG and KPMG has seen a massive increase in the prize money of LPGA majors. However, despite that, most LPGA Tour events’ prize money and winner’s payout still pale in comparison to PGA Tour events.
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As per Statista, the total purse of the PGA Tour’s 2023 season stands at $460 million for 38 events that conclude with the Hero World Challenge next month. Comparably, the LPGA Tour’s total purse for this year is less than a quarter of that, with $101.4 million from 33 events. Now, put that in context with LIV Golf’s reported $784 million in spending in its inaugural season. You get the picture, right?
The highest-purse PGA Tour event and LPGA Tour event
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The PGA Tour’s announcement of a $7 million purse for the CME Group Tour Championship turned many heads. But that is still dwarfed by the Tour Championship’s purse of a whopping $75 million.The LPGA Tour season-ender fails to match the U.S. Women’s Open in terms of prize money. However, the PGA Tour Championship, at the moment, has the highest purse along with the Masters and the PGA Championship.
A look at the Majors will also bear out the huge difference. Last year, the CME Group Tour Championship, the final event of the LPGA Tour, had the highest winner’s payout of $2 million. Taking note of that, the US Open increased its purse size from $10 million to 11.2 million, offering the winner a share of $2 million from $1.8 million last year. On the other hand, the U.S. Men’s Open remains the highest-paying major with a hefty purse of $20 million, out of which $3.6 million is reserved for the winner.
The shocking disparity between the PGA Tour and the LPGA Tour’s money list
Scottie Scheffler, with two victories this season, is the highest earner of the calendar year. His $21,014,342 is followed by Spaniard Jon Rahm with $16,522,608 in earnings. Vu, who tops the LPGA Tour’s money list with $3,252,303, has four title wins this season, including two Majors. Alissen Corpuz comes in a close second with $3,047,813. On the other hand, Talor Gooch, the 2023 season champion in the PIF-funded league, has amassed $36 million this year alone.
On 100 on the PGA Tour’s money list is David Lipsky, with $1,716,258, $87K more than Xiyu Lin, the eighth highest-paid LPGA Tour pro of this season. The 100th-ranked LPGA Tour player earned $189,480, or $1.5 million less than Lipsky. Meanwhile, LIV Golf reserves $120,000 for the 48th player in each event. Andy Ogletree, who recently made the headlines by securing a spot on the 48-man roster next year, played in only three events as a reserve and earned $788,333.
Where do LPGA Tour events stand against PGA Tour events?
Consider the recently concluded events for both tours. The total purse of the Annika Driven by Gainbridge at Pelican was $3.5 million, the highest for any non-major LPGA Tour event excluding the season-ending CME Group Tour Championship. Lilia Vu took home $487,500 as the winner of the event, while second-placed Allison Lee and Azahara Munoz pocketed $262,260 each.
Comparably, the Butterfield Bermuda Championship had a total purse of $6.5 million, just $500,000 shy of the LPGA Tour’s season-ender. Villegas, earning a PGAT victory for the first time in nine years, bagged $1.17 million in checks. While Alex Noren earned $708,500 for fishing second, $221K more than Vu. The gap is pretty wide.
It’s harder for those at the bottom
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While for the crème de la crème, the situation is still better, for the LPGA Tour pros, who remain at the lower rung on the leaderboard, the scenario is pretty grim. Shockingly, in some events, especially Asian events, even if you make the cut but can’t come in the top 50, you might lose money after paying up the caddie and accounting for the travel costs.
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An LPGA Tour Pro’s average cost stays somewhere between $115000 and $125000, including travel costs, hotel charges, and the salary of her staff. With inflation coming into the picture, the cost is rising every year without the purse of the LPGA Tour widening at a proportional rate.
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Although the LPGA Tour has increased the purse in the last few years, with majors following suit, it’s still a far cry from achieving parity. Undoubtedly, PIF, with its whopping $700 billion in wealth, has shaken up the golf world payouts, forcing PGAT to do course correction. But that had little to no effect on the women’s side. The budget compared to last year has increased, but at a very slow speed. Does the LPGA Tour also need a jolt like LIV Golf to ramp up the speed?
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