LONDON (Reuters) – Prize money in women’s golf pales in comparison to the riches on offer for men, but Laura Davies thinks the $70 million up for grabs on the LPGA Tour this year represents success by any reasonable measure.
Never mind that the PGA Tour will distribute about $500 million to its players in 2019. Women’s professional golf is doing just fine, according to Davies. At 55, the Englishwoman, who has more than 30 years on the tour, remembers the days when only a couple of dozen elite LPGA players made a decent living, while the vast majority scraped by with barely enough to cover their expenses.
It is a different story now.
Last year 14 players had more than $1 million in official LPGA earnings, while 101 players cracked six figures. That does not take into account off-course earnings from sponsors and commercial endorsements.
“I think we’re doing great,” Davies told Reuters ahead of next month’s U.S. Senior Open at Pine Needles in North Carolina.
“At the U.S. Women’s Open this year, we play for $900,000 to the winner. Alright, the guys are getting two million, but who cares?
“If you’d told me back in my day when I was a genuine chance that if you win you’re going to get $900,000, I wouldn’t have believed you.”
While Davies has 20 LPGA victories, including four majors, she has not won since 2001, but finished in a tie for second at the Founders Cup lat year and believes that she could win again, which is why she plans to keep playing for as long as she can.
Davies still hits the ball further than many peers half her age, flying it some 260-270 yards with her driver and sometimes not even using a tee when she wants to hit a fade, but acknowledges her short game often lets her down.