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Golf Australia Express : Issue 25
VIEW THE SO NOW it’s my turn to talk about prizemoney. You know, the disparity between paychecks on the men’s and women’s tours that Sam tackled in this column last week. We hear this argument a lot: That women are not remunerated on equal terms with men. And while that might still be the case in the corporate world—and I’m not qualified to make a judgment on that—in sport, it has very little to do with ‘doing the same job for less money’. First, for me this is not so much a debate about gender. Not even a little bit. Seeing the debate as a gender issue seems to me in itself sexist. No, this is a business debate. And golf is big business. Suggesting female golfers— predominantly those on the LPGA Tour—should be paid equally to the men on the PGA and European tours sounds like a just notion in this (painfully) politically correct world. But if we take the emotion out of the debate, we’re forced to acknowledge women’s tours simply do not generate enough money to pay their top exponents as much as the men’s tours do. Money in equals money out (or something like that). I hear the calls for sponsors to jump on board the gals and inject more funds. But these corporate giants are no less conspiring in their motives than the tours themselves. For sponsors, it’s simply a case of return on investment. Getting the biggest bang for their collective bucks, so to speak. The term ‘throwing good money after bad’ might be a tad strong in relation to women’s golf, but TV viewership, event attendances and corporate appeal are small on the LPGA and LET in comparison to the PGA and European tours. That’s a real shame as there’s plenty to get out of watching women’s golf. Truth is, the blame for this financial disparity rests with you and me—the golf followers. For whatever reason, more of us are likely to watch or attend a men’s golf event than a women’s one. That’s the stats speaking, not me. That’s where the money is in golf—with the numbers. And we, too, should not feel guilty for that being the case either. After all, this game is all about entertainment and each one of us will go and watch whatever fulfills our personal golf desires. If I prefer to watch a women’s event, it doesn’t make you less of a golf fan to rather watch the lads hit it out. In the end, this is simply a case of one business being bigger than the other. And I doubt we’d hear the cries of sexism quite so profoundly if the men’s tours were the ones struggling for coin. OTG THE BUSINESS OF SEXES The debate over ‘equal pay’ for women golfers is a sexist notion in itself, writes Damian Shutie. Photography by Evan Schiller golfshots.com Golf’s Unfolding Drama eBook now available for iPad! DOWNLOAD TELL US YOUR THOUGHTS