Unequal accomplishment?
Unequal compensation?
Purse or Prestige?
By Torleif Sorenson on 7/8/13
(Soundtrack by Donna Summer)

The Houston Chronicle's editorial board have sounded off on a topic that has also nagged at this writer from time to time:
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?

Bringing the purses for the U.S. Women's Open championship in line with the men's winner would be important symbolism in a game where symbols and traditions matter much.
This writer refuses to argue with the logic.

In fact, this writer suspects that if you were to ask Tiger Woods, Webb Simpson, Justin Rose, and Lucas Glover, they would tell you that while the winner's check is certainly nice, the more important benefits of winning a men's U.S. Open Championship are the prestige and cachet of being a U.S. Open Champion, the exemption from tour qualification, and the automatic invitations to the other major championships.

One interesting blunder made by the Chronicle's editorial staff: They described the United States Golf Association as a "tax-supported governing body." Some basic research or even a simple telephone call to the USGA's finance department would have revealed that they are a 501(C)(3) non-profit organization that does not receive any taxpayer funding from the federal government.

h/t Geoff Shackelford

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Image via USGA, John Mummert

[ comments ]
sjduffers says:
One argument could be made that it is more difficult for the men to get to the top as there are many more male players than female, and much fewer disparities in the top male players' abilities. That said, yes, it would be nice to provide the same purse, but would the sponsors go along?

As for the 501(C)(3) (or 501(C)4 for that matter) organizations, yes, they do not receive direct taxpayer funding, but they do get a tax exemption, which is another word for a tax subsidy paid for by the taxpayers. In other words, without that exemption they would be liable to pay income taxes and the fact that they don't is a loss to the Treasury, absorbed by the tax payers, so technically the "tax-supported governing body" comment is correct. ;-)
srogers13 says:
Another argument could be is that in tennis, Men and Women compete concurrently, so almost of all the ticket and TV money is coming in at the same time for the whole event. Also, you can make arguments from time to time that women's tennis is more popular than men's tennis.

In the case of golf, you have one week where you have people paying to see the men play, and a different week where you see the women play. I will tell you that it is very easy to tell that the Men's U.S. Open brings in more money to the USGA than all of their other championships, combined. So, in essence, the men earn their keep, and more or less help subsidize the other events.
golfingbumunderpar64 says:
Also, you can make arguments from time to time that women's tennis is more popular than men's tennis.......... At least until they banned the grunting.
BULL.W.E. says:
But women's tennis only provides fans with best of 3 sets worth of entertainment. They should either play best of 5 like the men do, or take a smaller percentage of the purse!
Torleif Sorenson says:
So, based on the opinions you guys have stated, women who win an amateur competition should be forced to accept a prize voucher of less than the USGA's current $750 limit, just because they're women?

sjduffers: A tax exemption is not the same thing as a tax subsidy.
srogers13 says:
Should WNBA players make as much as NBA players?
mjaber says:
Is the proposal to lower the men's purse, or to raise the women's purse?

Either one has it's issues. Lowering the men's purse takes it out of line with the rest of the majors, and probably most PGA TOUR events. Raising the women's purse would do the same. Since one of the factors in determining TOUR cards is the "money list", making that kind of significant adjustment to one purse could have a massive impact on those lists, for better or worse.
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