BBC report exposes golf's pay gulf

2014 10 Mc Ilroy Lewis
• BBC Sport study displays pay disparity.
• Golf gulf one of the worst of 35 sports examined.
• LET chief: Difference cannot be justified.


The gulf in pay between male and female golfers is amongst the widest in professional sport – that’s the finding of a new BBC Sport study into prize money.

Out of 35 sports that offer financial rewards, from a total of 56 looked at by the study, 25 pay equally and ten do not. And of those ten, golf has one of the biggest disparities, along with the likes of football and cricket.

Using the example of this year’s US Open championships, the report found that Michelle Wie pocketed £452,000 for winning the women’s event – considerably less than the £1m earned by men’s winner Martin Kaymer.

A closer look at the cheques banked by the money leaders on the PGA Tour and LPGA this year also backs up that example.

Rory McIlroy topped the money list on the PGA Tour in the 2013/14 season, with earnings of $8,280,096. That worked out at just under $1,754 per shot.
"The current significant difference in the prize money between men's and women's golf cannot be justified." - Ivan Khodabakhsh, LET chief executive

Stacy Lewis, meanwhile, pictured above with McIlroy, currently leads the LPGA money list with just a few events of the season remaining and, to date, she has earned $2,300,588, or just under $353 per shot.

Ivan Khodabakhsh, the chief executive of the Ladies European Tour, is one of those who is campaigning for equal pay for men and women in golf.

He told the BBC: "The current significant difference in the prize money between men's and women's golf cannot be justified, taking into consideration the competitiveness and quality of professional women's golf worldwide.”

In it the 2013/14 PGA Tour season just ended, the top 97 players on the money list earned at least $1m. The current money leader on Khodabakhsh’s tour, meanwhile, is Norway’s Suzann Pettersen, with earnings of €315,867. With just a handful of tournaments left on the schedule this year, only the top 12 players on the LET money list have earned in excess of €100,000. No player has ever breached the million mark in a single season’s earnings on the circuit.

BBC study's findings :: your thoughts

In light of the BBC's report into prize money in professional sport, do you think male and female golfers should be paid equally? Vote in our poll below.

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