LPGA Tour captures more sponsor interest in women’s sports

LPGA Tour captures more sponsor interest in women’s sports

Ten years ago, the LPGA Tour had eight players earning at least $1 million a season. One indication of the extent of the change is NASA’s Hatooka.

The 22-year-old Japanese player earned over $1 million from second place this year.

They came into the events with the two biggest bags on the LPGA Tour, the US Women’s Open and the CME Group Tour Championship. However, it was an example of how powerful the wallets can be, and now the LPGA Tour heads into the 2022 season as it pays out $90 million in prize money.

This is what Molly Marco Semaan takes as she begins her first full year as a commissioner. I spoke last week that the LPGA Tour is in a position to grow and that “this is our time.”

“I think people have also woken up about women’s sports,” she said. And they said, ‘Wow, that’s an undervalued asset in the world. We need to highlight this value.

“So I think in general, given the world’s focus on diversity and equity and inclusion, I think people have looked at women’s sports and said, ‘This is an area of ​​the world where there isn’t a great deal of equity or a great deal of equality. “

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The LPGA has just completed its 72nd season, with 15 players earning $1 million or more.

Terry Duffy, CEO and Chairman of CME, was among the biggest proponents by offering the largest first-class check, worth $1.5 million. The CME Group Tour Championships raised its portfolio by $2 million next year to $7 million, with $2 million going to the winner.

The LPGA Tour features 19 of 34 official events with a portfolio of $2 million or more, compared to 15 such events five years ago.

The prize money for the Big Five is at least $26.3 million, up from $18.7 million five years ago. Not yet decided, the US Women’s Open has been looking for a presentation sponsor and could announce early next year a bag that will be the biggest in women’s golf.

It still has a huge gap to close with the PGA Tour, with 16 players already winning $1 million or more in just nine fall events to start the new season.

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“We are constantly looking at all levels of the Tour. How do our top players behave financially, how do the average players behave, how do base players behave? We are looking at pay equity,” said Marco Semaan. “We look at the delta between the PGA Tour and the LPGA Tour. , the delta area increases when you go down in the money list.

“I think if we can close that delta, and also if we can make sure that the best players in the world can make a living commensurate with their talent, I think that’s a really big goal for us.”

one more mountain

Colin Morikawa has enjoyed a year worth celebrating. His three victories include the World Championships in golf, his second major at the British Open, and his first European Tour victory at the DP World Championships, becoming the first American to win the race to Dubai.

And the year is not over yet.

Next week is the Global Champions Challenge, and while it’s an unofficial holiday event, the world rankings are on the line.

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And for Morikawa, it is the number one ranking as well.

According to the predictions of a global specialist known on Twitter only as “Nosferatu”, Morikawa could reach number one in the world if he wins in the Bahamas. But not for long. With the formula included, Jon Ram will be back in first place a week later.

That would be fine with Morikawa. The 24-year-old California wants to get there.

“I’m definitely aware of that,” he said. “I hope we can get there, even if it is only for one week. I am sure we still have many opportunities, I hope we will come next year.”

Morikawa said getting to No. 1 in the world has been a goal for as long as he remembers, and it’s not an opportunity he takes advantage of when he sees that only 24 players have been No. 1 since the rankings began in 1986.

“There were a lot of great players who didn’t and it shows how difficult it is,” he said.

the end of the era

The CME Group Tour marked the end of the LPGA season, and it turned out to be a farewell of sorts on the broadcast front.

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Beth Hutter is moving away from producing LPGA Tour coverage for the Golf Channel, as she wants to spend more time at home with her young daughter.

Jodi Rankin also says she has finished her full-time broadcast schedule. Rankin is a Hall of Fame player whose running, reliable voice has been a staple of LPGA events. She previously worked for ABC and ESPN as a walking analyst during her prime years at Tiger Woods.

Fittingly, she was honored by Mollie Marcoux Samaan with the “Commissioner Award,” dating back to 1991 as a way to honor those who have made unique contributions to the LPGA.

Besides broadcasting, Rankin was the first player to earn over $100,000 in earnings in 1976. She also won the Solheim Cup captain in 1996 and 1998.

“I think I got the best front row seat ever,” said Rankin, who will turn 77 in February. LPGA has been my neighborhood and I love this neighborhood. I was really fortunate to get a second chance after being a player to spend a lot of time here and be friends with younger players. It was really unusual for me.”

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Kapalua field

The Sentry Tournament of Champions contained a 42-player stadium to start the year due to the 2020 pandemic shorthand that has resulted in the PGA Tour expanding qualifications for winners and anyone who makes it to the tournament.

Now it’s back to the winners only in Kapalua, and the playing field can be up to 38 players.

Patrick Cantlay has won three times this year, and eight other players have won twice.

While the entry deadline is still over a month away, only Rory McIlroy and Phil Mickelson are not planning to be on Maui. McIlroy starts his year in Abu Dhabi, while Mickelson (who has not played Kapalua since 2002) said his first stop will likely be The American Express in the California desert, where he hosts the tournament.

sunshine

The European Tour is now under its new name – the DP World Tour – so it was fitting that the first announcement was that she would be adding a tournament in Japan to her schedule. It will be the 51st country to host a tourist event.

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Round the world, indeed.

The ISPS Handa Championship is scheduled for April 21-24 at PGM Ishioka Golf Club in Umitama. It will be validated with the Tour of Japan Golf.

DIVOTS

BMW has signed a five-year extension to 2027 as the main sponsor of the spinning PGA Tour postseason event. The BMW Championship will be held at the Wilmington Country Club in Delaware next year and will return to Olympia Fields south of Chicago in 2023. … Brooks Koepka, the free agent since Nike stopped making golf clubs, has signed a deal with Crickson. Koepka will use Srixon driver, irons and golf balls, and play Cleveland wedges. He used iron to win the Phoenix Open this year. …American amateurs will go to Inverness in 2029. The club in Toledo, Ohio recently hosted this year’s Solheim Cup.

status of the week

NASA Hatooka won $1.074 million by placing second in the US Women’s Open and CME Group Tour Championships. She won $645,000 for her victory in the LPGA Classic Marathon and Walmart NW Arkansas Championship.

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last word

“I will set some goals high. I always have. I will level up as high as I can get and keep going.” – Colin Morikawa.

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