With LIV Golf dominating the news, LPGA players admit that almost ‘full round’ might consider a similar leap.

BETHESDA, Maryland – Christie’s describes the refurbished Congressional Blue Discipline as one of the best it is ever performed. As LPGA gamers drive courtesy Cadillacs this week, dine at a mega membership—full with sugar cookies within the form of the Washington Monument—and vie for a $9 million purse, double final yr’s KPMG Girls’s, Stacey Lewis has a message: In our historical past within the LPGA, that is removed from regular.”

The LPGA was in grave hazard when Lewis joined over twelve years in the past. There have been 23 occasions on the schedule, about half of which have been exterior.

“This present group of gamers, I do not assume they totally notice how fortunate we’re with the alternatives we now have,” stated Lewis. “I imply, they have been anticipating them for the final 4 or 5 years, that establishing this week is regular.”

Stacy Lewis blogs on the eleventh lane throughout the coaching spherical for the KPMG Girls’s PGA Championship on the Congress Nation Membership on June 22, 2022 in Bethesda, Maryland. (Photograph by Elsa/Getty Pictures)

Kathryn Kirk, one in every of a handful of gamers over the age of 40 who repeatedly compete within the LPGA, is anxious in regards to the “entitlement scenario” that permeates the tour. It appears to be like at what the LPGA founders themselves did within the Fifties to launch this tour — promotions, course setup, provisions, advertising — and holds a deep appreciation.

“In comparison with that, we now have an ease,” she stated. “We simply rise to the championships.”

On the eve of the fiftieth anniversary of Title IX, LPGA commissioner Molly Marco Semaan stated the LPGA’s complete portfolio in 1972 was $972,000. This week’s winner will obtain $1,350,000.

“Very noticeable development,” stated Marco Semaan. “And even in 2021, I feel our wallets have been simply over $70 million, and now, in 2022, that is over $97 million is de facto spectacular.”

In fact, cash is the discuss of the sport now. As a area of 156 ladies celebrates its second largest purse in tour historical past this week, PGA Tour stars are leaving their already profitable tour for staggering quantities of cash assured on the Saudi-backed LIV Golf. The unending cycle of Saudi information engulfs the headlines within the ladies’s sport – even within the main tournaments.

When requested if she was involved {that a} related Saudi-backed menace may come to the LPGA, Marcoux Samaan stated, “Pay attention, we get up each day attempting to make the LPGA the chief in ladies’s golf and make it one of the best tour ever. That is what we concentrate on. We’ve got a quantity Nice employees. We’ve got nice companions. We’ve got one of the best gamers on the planet. We’re actually doubling down on what we’re doing.”

As for Leaf Golf’s ambitions within the ladies’s sport, CEO Greg Norman lately for the BBC“We’re right here to develop golf on a worldwide foundation, not simply in a single particular sector, which is the lads’s sector. It’s throughout the board.”

One week after the inaugural LIV Golf Invitational Collection was held on the Centurion Membership, the London Aramco Group Collection offered by the Public Funding Fund was held on the identical course.

The Saudi-backed Aramco collection is a part of the Girls’s European Tour, which falls below the LPGA umbrella.

Throughout a pre-tournament press convention in London, Saudi golf ambassador Bronte Low hailed Lyn Grant’s groundbreaking victory on the DP World Tour – the place the Swede beat a males’s and ladies’s area by 9 strokes – and pushed for extra blended occasions.

“One of the best instance is tennis,” Lu stated. “Why do ladies receives a commission greater than we do? The reason being that they play on the identical web site and get the identical media protection.

“So if we are able to play in the identical event, get the identical TV protection, there isn’t any purpose to not enhance our baggage.”

With Golf Saudi already investing in ladies’s golf, Many marvel what may come subsequent. Might it’s Low’s name for extra blended occasions or simultaneous occasions involving women and men already working at Golf Saudi? And in that case, what number of gamers would go away for an opportunity to win more cash?

“Put it like this, I feel you may see virtually the complete tour do it right here,” Kerr stated. “What we’re enjoying for right here in comparison with the lads’s tour, the size is completely different.

“However on the similar time, KPMG raised its portfolio to $9 million. We’re beginning to see the rising tide elevate all of the ships. … It will likely be fascinating to see how that impacts this tour.”

Bronte’s Regulation provides a brand new opinion on the matchmaking of girls’s and males’s golf.

LPGA participant Sarah Kemp should compete in a minimal variety of LET occasions every season to keep up her membership in Europe, and touring to New York for the Aramco Group Collection occasion later this yr might be very handy. However Kemp doesn’t like that the cash for this occasion comes from the federal government of Saudi Arabia.

Nonetheless, she understands that girls who compete in LET full-time don’t have any selection however to compete within the six Saudi-backed occasions, noting that budgets are so tight in that spherical, one participant drove an Amazon truck throughout the COVID-19 pandemic.

“It could be nice to have a couple of KPMGs on the planet,” Kemp stated, “a couple of CMEs who wish to help ladies’s golf.”

They love the thought of ​​the strain and momentum within the sport’s development, and what it is doing to drive consideration and consciousness of the worth of the product, KPMG US Vice President and COO Laura Neuinsky stated Tuesday. The USGA set a brand new benchmark with a $10 million purse at this yr’s US Girls’s Open. Every LPGA main has raised its portfolio considerably in recent times.

“As a sponsor, this isn’t a contest,” Neuinsky stated. “It is coming alongside, and let’s get proper into the sport as to what we put in it.”

Gabe Lopez of Mexico celebrates after profitable the Blue Bay LPGA title on November 10, 2018, on Hainan Island, China. (Photograph by Zhi Jie/Getty Pictures)

If LIV creates one thing new in ladies’s golf, Gaby Lopez thinks it can most certainly keep within the LPGA.

“Only for my core values,” she stated. “I do not actually play for cash. I actually play to win trophies. For me, it is extra essential.”

However she will see others see her otherwise.

“I feel a variety of guys will give it some thought as a result of there are a variety of women struggling, even on the sponsor aspect,” Lopez stated. “I would not be stunned if the women left this tour.”

When Kirk thinks of the potential for Saudi cash to threaten the LPGA, she thinks not simply of the tour itself, however of the LPGA’s instructing division and the LPGA-USGA Ladies Golf program that has exploded in recent times. What’s the destiny of those?

“I simply hope the gamers perceive the results of selections that do not simply have an effect on you,” Kirk stated. “It impacts future generations.”