Augusta. Amen Corner. It’s the most famous spot on the most famous golf course in the world. Here, PGA prayers are answered or ignored. It’s where the Masters is won. Or lost.
Nearby, across Rae’s creek, is Augusta Country Club’s ninth fairway. It is where the Titleholders, the first major tournament of the LPGA season, was played until 1966.
So close. Yet so far away. Like the divide between the LPGA and PGA in terms of sponsorship, prize money and media attention.
How Did It Happen?
Flashback: 1947. Babe Didrikson Zaharias wins the Titleholders. Her prize? $300. Seven days later, Jimmy Demaret wins the Masters. His haul? $2,500. Her total earnings, as leading money winner in 1948, were $3,400.
By 1950, the best female golfers were so frustrated they formed their own tour—the LPGA. 14 years later, the equal pay act became law.
By 1973, not much had changed… In golf. In tennis, Billie Jean King helped get equal pay for women at the US Open. By 2007, all four major tennis tournaments had followed suit. Look at tennis now. Female tennis players are stars, and sponsors flock to them.
The USGA, on the other hand, isn’t moving far enough. Or fast enough. Unlike tennis, they don’t see the huge business potential of the LPGA. If the USGA makes prizes equal, then media attention and sponsorship will follow. Like tennis.
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