Australian legend Karrie Webb has said that golf “shouldn’t shy away” from setting the goal of achieving equal prize money for men and women.
Speaking in the latest edition of bunkered magazine, the seven-time major champion has called on the media to do more to help promote the women’s game.
Webb’s comments are timely given that Rory McIlroy pocketed $2.25m for winning the Players Championship at the weekend. Only one player earned more than that on the LPGA in the whole of last season: Ariya Jutanugarn, who made $2,743,949 from 28 events.
“I think we shouldn’t shy away from that goal,” said Webb of equal pay. “Aiming to achieve that will start to close the gap at least. But it’s a question of how we do it.
“Women’s tennis is elevated not only because they play for equal money but because they are in the same conversation as the men during the dozen or so events that are played together.
“The media couldn’t possibly cover only the men’s Australian Open and not the women’s.
“If media coverage of women’s golf increased to even 25% of all golf coverage on TV and print media, that would substantially change the landscape of women’s golf.
"It takes the buy-in of more than just golf organisations to shift the needle.”
The 44-year-old Aussie also said that players on the Ladies European Tour have to step up and do what they can to hire the right people to “right the ship”.
“It isn’t great for women’s professional golf in general if the Ladies European Tour fails,” said Webb. “I would hope that the LPGA would be there again to help if the LET puts its hand up.
“I know there is a senior group of LET members that have worked tirelessly to try to turn things around. I hope they are able to come up with a way forward that saves the tour and brings it back to the health it once was.
“It breaks my heart to see young girls who have only ever dreamt of playing professional golf not having the opportunities that I had when I started out.”
READ THE FULL INTERVIEW WITH KARRIE WEBB IN ISSUE 170 OF BUNKERED, ON-SALE THIS WEEK.