The PGA and LPGA tours are teaming with a global professional services firm to initiate a first-of-its-kind contest, a season-long risk-reward competition that will pay a $1 million bonus to the men’s and women’s winners.
At every stop on both tours next season, a high-risk, high-reward hole will be designated — be it a drivable par 4, a par 5 that offers the potential to reach the green or a par 3 with a tricky green complex or water galore. The details of the competition, which will be sponsored by Aon, have yet to be completed, but a running tally of the players’ scores on the designated holes will be kept and the standings will be updated weekly and publicized on each tour’s various media platforms, including CBS for the men, and Golf Channel for the women.
The equal payout for the men and women earned the attention of the LPGA Tour members, whose financial compensation in the competitive and corporate spheres lag far behind their PGA Tour brethren.
“It’s super cool, just because of the equal pay,” said Brittany Lincicome, a two-time major winner whose prodigious length off the tee feeds into her attacking style. “Normally the guys get way more money than we do, so this is a step in the right direction.”
The discrepancy in the men’s and women’s pay was obvious in Sunday’s results: The PGA Tour’s Greenbrier Classic had a total purse of $7.3 million, with $1.31 million awarded to the winner, Kevin Na; the Thornberry Creek LPGA Classic had a total purse of $2 million, with $300,000 awarded to the champion, Kim Sei-young.
“Obviously their main goal is winning the tournament, and that won’t change,” said Jon Podany, LPGA’s chief marketing officer, “but when you’ve got a million-dollar prize, I would think the players will be concentrating on their performance on that hole each week and I think the players will be excited about it.”