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examines the financial realities of the average LPGA Tour player


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On 12/10/2020 at 7:30 PM, Argonne69 said:

There are several reasons why women's golf in Korea is so successful. For starters, Se Ri Pak became a superstar when she won the US Women's Open. A generation of young Korean girls dreamed of playing on the LPGA. So start with a large chunk of the population that's interested in playing golf. 

 

Second, the KLPGA and its two feeder series provides a fantastic learning ground for young professionals. The purses are large enough that a decent player can actually earn a living. By comparison the Symetra players starve. There are numerous tournaments, with the majority being three rounds. Since the country is relatively small, roughly the size of Indiana, travel expenses are smaller than in the US. A player doesn't have to be on the road for weeks at a time. Most are home every week. It's no surprise that 8 of the last 10 LPGA rookies of the year came from the KLPGA. 

 

With a steady stream of quality players gaining experience through regular tournament play, and a population in love with golf, you have the ingredients for success. 

 

This is very true. The Korean market is all about competition. They had people pulling off six-figure incomes from the game Starcraft back around 2000 before anyone other than gaming kids like myself even knew competitive gaming was a thing. Being the best at something--anything--matters a lot more in many Asian countries than it does in the US, Europe, Africa, Australia, or almost anywhere else.

 

The below is the preview for the film about Google's AlphaGo taking on Korea's reigning Go prodigy. There are literally hundreds of photographers and journalists packed into the room to catch every word during the conferences. Multiple TV networks were carrying the matches live, it was broadcast on multiple Times Square equivalent TV screens throughout Korea, and bars, schools, and workplaces pretty much came to a halt in order to watch.

 

 

This is the reaction to a board game. An ancient and prestigious one, but a 1v1 board game nonetheless. While this was more noteworthy because the champion was taking on AI, do you think there's anything of the sort that would get close to this kind of fanfare in most other parts of the world? Korea is an entity unto itself when it comes to devotion to certain things viewed as worthwhile shows of skill. Korea's fanaticism for women's golf is not easily exportable.

 

That said, myself and many others have already mentioned in this thread that what the LPGA and Euro Ladies' Tour could get right they don't: building up interest in player's stories better, featuring their personalities, and garnering interest around that. There are lots of people who couldn't give two craps about golf or basketball who still tuned in to see Tiger or Michael play because they brought something else alongside amazing game. How many LPGA players in its entire history can you name drop by first name and have the average person on the street know? I bet you I can find you a decent number of people almost anywhere in the US who can tell you who Danica Patrick is, though. You know the difference? She was marketed effectively, LPGA players are not. Wie was on her way to that status but we all know what derailed that aside from the injuries, making her one of one.

 

Lastly, I don't care if I get flack for saying this, but another issue that is keeping the LPGA from being taken seriously for its golf is that those who are "out there" most heavily on social media are known for displaying certain assets very prominently every chance they get. That doesn't do anything to garner the fan base they actually need, which is women & girls who will tune into tournaments and spend on the merchandise. For that matter I don't think many men are drawn to it for more than a quick gawk. It's less than professional to promote your social accounts as an OnlyFans lite if you really want to help grow your sport.

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The way I see it, if you are OK with Lydia/Brooke/Nelly/etc making millions per year, Lebron/Tiger making $100 MM+ per year (or whatever it is), then you must believe in meritocracy, free markets, etc

Our family has hosted Symetra Tour players when they are in town for a tournament.  There is no way to play that tour, with the hopes of making the LPGA, without losing money.  Entry fees, travel, equ

FWIW Johnson Wagner (154th, 597k) at the end of the 2018/19 PGA Tour season was not last on the money list. Jonathan Kaye was 265th @ 6k. The cruel fact that has long been known in all professional sp

16 hours ago, stingerfade said:

Not everyone can be muni he and come from a rich family with a private driving range complete with bunkers and chipping greens in their backyard. That setup is ridiculous 

correct, there's quite a few of current players (card carrying rookie(s) for 2020 and 2021, i guess) who didn't even have enough funds until the last minute (trust me on this) to pay for qschool in 2019...  and scour to find cheapest fares btw (even if they have to fly out of way routes then to reach their final destination - from/for a tournament)

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14 minutes ago, Supermilo said:

correct, there's quite a few of current players (card carrying rookie(s) for 2020 and 2021, i guess) who didn't even have enough funds until the last minute (trust me on this) to pay for qschool in 2019...  and scour to find cheapest fares btw (even if they have to fly out of way routes then to reach their final destination - from/for a tournament)

That's golf on any tour. It is struggle for most as the fight there way to the tour

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53 minutes ago, Rangeballz said:

So what is the answer to this financial problem?

 

Mandate that purses equal men's tour purses? Goodbye tournament dates (IMHO).

 

It's a serious question. For those that are bemoaning the plight of the average LPGA pro, what do you suggest, and what do you think is reasonable and viable?

Earlier this year, former Golf Channel writer Randall Mel said that corporate sponsors should give the LPGA seed money. Somehow this seed money (directly or indirectly given to purses or players?) would spur growth and they would get a future return on their investment. 

I don’t see this happening. It’s the ladies who are just scraping by and missing cuts that need money. 

 

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On 1/11/2021 at 5:28 PM, Holy Moses said:

Earlier this year, former Golf Channel writer Randall Mel said that corporate sponsors should give the LPGA seed money. Somehow this seed money (directly or indirectly given to purses or players?) would spur growth and they would get a future return on their investment. 

I don’t see this happening. It’s the ladies who are just scraping by and missing cuts that need money. 

 

 Lots of people need money. Bad career choice maybe?

 

I am not trying to be glib. I often say that being good at golf as a kid is a curse, highly unlikely you can make a career out of it, but you feel you need to try.

 

It is likely is even tougher on the mens side to scratch out a living as a Pro Golfer.

 

Let me put it this way if you and 9 friends put in $10 bucks winner takes all - 1 person walks away with $100 - 9 walk away with nothing. Now if you and 99 friends put in $10 - 1 walks away with $1000 and 99 walk away with nothing. 

 

The LPGA is like example one, relatively fewer players fighting for less money. The PGA is way more players fighting for way more money, at the end of the day far more men have empty pockets chasing the golf dream than women and I am not sure we should feel bad for either group.

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On 1/11/2021 at 8:28 PM, Holy Moses said:

Earlier this year, former Golf Channel writer Randall Mel said that corporate sponsors should give the LPGA seed money. Somehow this seed money (directly or indirectly given to purses or players?) would spur growth and they would get a future return on their investment. 

I don’t see this happening. It’s the ladies who are just scraping by and missing cuts that need money. 

 

We have to look no further than the WNBA to see what happens when sponsors throw money at something just to be more "balanced" rather than equitable. It's been run at a loss the entirety of its existence because it doesn't draw an audience. Even as rare as it is that I hear a woman mention watching the LPGA, I've never heard a woman mention watching the WNBA in casual conversation. I'd say you're very right about it not happening for the LPGA in terms of getting more dollars than they pull in.

 

Really would be neat if they started to take advantage of the personalities that exist better and did a better job of marketing and cross-marketing the tour. Women's Tennis still doesn't have the draw of Men's, but it has done an excellent job of building its top players into their own brands and associating their play with energy, excitement, passion, and on and on. Doing so lead to increased viewership, which lead to increased sponsor/vendor revenue, which lead to increased purses and sponsorships.

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On 1/6/2021 at 9:37 AM, stingerfade said:

Not everyone can be muni he and come from a rich family with a private driving range complete with bunkers and chipping greens in their backyard. That setup is ridiculous 

@stingerfade Your post got me curious... "paying it forward" here, with the Link, in case anybody else is curious about Muni He's backyard setup!
 

 

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9 hours ago, 2bGood said:

I saw this when it came out - I was an instant fan of Muni (Lily). 

I like how he says it’s her house. It’s her parents’ house and seeing this makes me dislike her more. Oh it’s so hard being a golf pro I had to give up soooo much. Really? Please. 
 

And yes I understand I have envy and jealousy issues when dealing with priveliged kids. Probably one of the least deserving of the name “muni” considering that background 😂😃

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34 minutes ago, stingerfade said:

I like how he says it’s her house. It’s her parents’ house and seeing this makes me dislike her more. Oh it’s so hard being a golf pro I had to give up soooo much. Really? Please. 
 

And yes I understand I have envy and jealousy issues when dealing with priveliged kids. Probably one of the least deserving of the name “muni” considering that background 😂😃

Haters going to hate😎

 

I like her personality, seems really fun. Given her career earnings are $37,000 the struggle is real. 

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Womens sports in general gets very little fan/viewer support in the USA.

Perhaps the two most dominating US athletes over the past 5+ years regardless of gender have been Simone Biles and Mikaela Shiffrin.

Pretty sure a lot of people wouldn't even recognize both names.

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On 1/6/2021 at 12:36 PM, 8602081 said:

LPGA is mostly played in US..  To get recognition, we need American players to compete at Top Level.

 

We need Americans Ladies to do a whole lot better..  Once the popularity goes up, funds will come in for higher pay..

 

 

 

That logic didn't work when the LPGA was all American women and a few from Yurp. Why would it work today?

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1 hour ago, 18majors said:

Is this chart correct?  Hard to believe no women golfer made more than $4.6 million a year counting both prize and endorsements! 

 

Hinako Shibuno comes to mind, also Lydia Ko and In Gee Chun in their peak.

 

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I'd say it's probably correct. The top player on the LPGA averaged roughly $2.5 million in 2018 and 2019. With so few tournaments in early 2020, the earnings dropped. The chart includes earnings from 6/1/19 to 6/1/20, so figure half a season was pretty much lost. 

 

I can't imagine endorsements earn them over a million, nevermind 2 million. So, even in the best year 3.5 million would be a stretch. 

 

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10 minutes ago, Argonne69 said:

 

I'd say it's probably correct. The top player on the LPGA averaged roughly $2.5 million in 2018 and 2019. With so few tournaments in early 2020, the earnings dropped. The chart includes earnings from 6/1/19 to 6/1/20, so figure half a season was pretty much lost. 

 

I can't imagine endorsements earn them over a million, nevermind 2 million. So, even in the best year 3.5 million would be a stretch. 

 

 

 

Naomi Osaka earned less than $3.0 million in prize money over that time period; that means she earned almost $35.0 million in endorsements.

Naomi has at least 15 endorsements paying her at least $1.0 million a year, a lion share of it is from Japan.

 

I won't argue that Naomi is bigger than Hinako in Japan, even though it's debatable.  But it's impossible that Hinako doesn't make at least a quareter of Naomi's endorsements in Japan, say $5.0 million.

 

I also did a scoping for both Lydia and In Gee in 2017, and concluded that both of them made at least $4.0 million in endorsements.

 

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On 1/15/2021 at 11:22 AM, Itsjustagame said:

Womens sports in general gets very little fan/viewer support in the USA.

Perhaps the two most dominating US athletes over the past 5+ years regardless of gender have been Simone Biles and Mikaela Shiffrin.

Pretty sure a lot of people wouldn't even recognize both names.

Biles is very widely known in many of circles. She makes the rounds on a lot of social media sites and forums because of how much she's pushed gymnastics, which is evident just from short clips of her routines. Female gymnasts in general, at least those at the top, are commonly household names. The Atlanta and Sydney games made huge celebrities out of two entire teams.

 

If Shiffrin isn't known it's because her PR team is asleep at the wheel. Considering how big Lindsey Vaughn and Peekaboo Street went with endorsements, commercials, talk shows, and general fanfare the groundwork is already laid out pretty nicely.

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2 hours ago, PedronNiall said:

Biles is very widely known in many of circles. She makes the rounds on a lot of social media sites and forums because of how much she's pushed gymnastics, which is evident just from short clips of her routines. Female gymnasts in general, at least those at the top, are commonly household names. The Atlanta and Sydney games made huge celebrities out of two entire teams.

 

If Shiffrin isn't known it's because her PR team is asleep at the wheel. Considering how big Lindsey Vaughn and Peekaboo Street went with endorsements, commercials, talk shows, and general fanfare the groundwork is already laid out pretty nicely.

 

Only reason I know about Shiffrin is the Land Rover commercial they pay big bucks to play on every channel. If not for that, I wouldnt know. I dont care about skiing and I hate snow. I still have no idea about her accomplishments. 

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3 minutes ago, third-times-a-charm said:

 

Only reason I know about Shiffrin is the Land Rover commercial they pay big bucks to play on every channel. If not for that, I wouldnt know. I dont care about skiing and I hate snow. I still have no idea about her accomplishments. 

One of the greatest skiers of all time and she is still young.  Dominant slalom skier, but also has world cup wins in GS and Super G.  She has a real opportunity to retire with the most world cup wins and podiums in history man or woman.

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2 minutes ago, ThinkingPlus said:

One of the greatest skiers of all time and she is still young.  Dominant slalom skier, but also has world cup wins in GS and Super G.  She has a real opportunity to retire with the most world cup wins and podiums in history man or woman.

 

lol yes due to this thread I finally googled her name.

 

It's just an anecdote.

 

The chart a few posts above about the highest paid women or whatever - I have no idea who 80% of them are. I only know who Williams and Morgan are due to endorsements and the world cup. I have no idea who the rest of those women are.

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42 minutes ago, third-times-a-charm said:

 

lol yes due to this thread I finally googled her name.

 

It's just an anecdote.

 

The chart a few posts above about the highest paid women or whatever - I have no idea who 80% of them are. I only know who Williams and Morgan are due to endorsements and the world cup. I have no idea who the rest of those women are.

You should watch Naomi play tennis. She’s fun at watch and seems very down to earth 

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13 hours ago, 18majors said:

I also did a scoping for both Lydia and In Gee in 2017, and concluded that both of them made at least $4.0 million in endorsements.

 

I'm somewhere in between.  Didn't do any work but would have guessed they were making well over a million, less than five.  Biased to the lower end if you put a gun to my head.  I figured Lydia's PXG contract was at least $1 MM per year.  Not sure on all of In Gee's brands....

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35 minutes ago, agolf1 said:

I'm somewhere in between.  Didn't do any work but would have guessed they were making well over a million, less than five.  Biased to the lower end if you put a gun to my head.  I figured Lydia's PXG contract was at least $1 MM per year.  Not sure on all of In Gee's brands....

 

 

Lydia's 5 year PXG contract:

Lydia Ko signs equipment deal with PXG

"At the end of the 2016 season, Ko left previous club supplier Callaway, who she signed with prior to turning pro in 2014. The financial terms of the PXG deal have not been released but according to golf blogger Geoff Shackelford, it is worth NZ$14.5million (US$10million) over the duration of the contract."

 

In Gee Chun was the most popular player in Korea from 2015 to 2017.  She signed a main contracct with KB Finanicial in December 2017.  Although the contract detail wasn't disclosed, but it should be close to Se Ri Pak's previous 3.0 billion won ($2.7 million) a year deal.

 

 

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The last time a golfer made the Forbes Top-10 was 2015 when Stacy Lewis was listed at $6.4M. 
 

https://www.topendsports.com/world/lists/earnings/women-paid-forbes-2015.htm

 

In 2017 Lydia was listed at $5.9M but it took $6.2M to make the top-10. 
 

https://www.topendsports.com/world/lists/earnings/women-paid-forbes-2017.htm

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