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US Open's $10M purse offers hope for gender pay equality

US Open's $10M purse offers hope for gender pay equality

SOUTHERN PINES, N.C. (AP) — Dottie Pepper recalls actuality paired accompanied by Meg Mallon for the final circular of the 1991 U.S. Women's Open accompanied by what she viewed while an magnificent $110,000 first-place prize on the line.

Things have changed, nevertheless Lydia Ko says not enough.

Mallon would come first in that competition with every one other accompanied by be paid the record-breaking payday.

"It was the earliest hour dated a winning inspect was sextet figures," Pepper said. "That was a large deal."

Pepper has a firm hour dated believing that a little additional than trio decades later, the top feminine golfers inside the world will exist competing for a record $10 million purse, including a winner's portion of $1.8 million at the U.S. Women's Open that begins Thursday at Pine Needles, following the USGA secured a greatest sponsorship from ProMedica.

Ko, the No. 3-ranked women's golfer inside the world, said players should exist thankful for steps in the direction of identical pay nevertheless added "there's still a ways to go."

There is.

Even accompanied by the prize purse increasing $4.5 million from a year ago, the women still lag behind the men.

The men's 2021 U.S. Open purse was $12.5 million, accompanied by $2.25 million going to champion Jon Rahm. The prize money for this year's competition is expected to grow substantially when it is announced following month. The Masters' purse went from $11.5 million to $15 million this year with every one other accompanied by the men's PGA Championship increased from $12 million to $15 million.


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It is a gender pay discrepancy that is reflective inside numerous professional sports.

In basketball, the signify NBA player made $5.3 million per season, according to Basketball Reference, while WNBA stars Diana Taurasi, Jewell Loyd with every one other accompanied by Breanna Stewart earned a league-maximum $228,094. That's a mere let fall inside the bucket for Golden State's Stephen Curry, whose yearly pay is $45.7 million.

Women's basketball players including Brittney Griner, who the U.S management says is actuality wrongfully detained inside Russia, lay clasp of their games overseas throughout the offseason to supplement their incomes.

Professional feminine athletes' paychecks are smaller across various sports, according to a learning by Adelphi University published inside 2021:

— The signify pay of a Major League Baseball player was $4 million, compared accompanied by $6,000 for those accompanied by Women's Professional Fastpitch.

— Major League Soccer players earned an signify of $410,730, compared accompanied by $35,000 for their feminine counterparts inside the National Women's Soccer League.

— Male tennis players made on signify $335,946 last year while the women earned $283,635.

— Male golfers averaged $1.25 million versus $48,993 for their feminine counterparts.

Of Forbes' top 50 highest-paid athletes inside 2022, tennis player Naomi Osaka was the only woman to build the list at $59.2 million — the vast majority of that coming from endorsement deals.

But strides are actuality made.

Earlier this month, the U.S. Soccer Federation reached a milestone accord to pay its men's with every one other accompanied by women's teams equally, making the American national governing body the earliest inside the (competitive) game(s) to word of honour both sexes identical salaries. That came following fans chanted "Equal pay!" following the women's team's 2019 World Cup come first in with every one other accompanied by the team filed a discrimination lawsuit.

In tennis, there have been identical payouts for men with every one other accompanied by women at all quartet Grand Slam events — Wimbledon, the French Open, U.S. Open with every one other accompanied by Australian Open — since 2007, the consequence of Billie Jean King's threat of a boycott spine inside 1973. However, men be paid additional than women at other, smaller tennis tournaments.

"I believe women have not been paid while a a large amount of since male executives, overwhelmingly white, saw less price inside women's sports," said Richard Lapchick, the director of The Institute for Diversity with every one other accompanied by Ethics inside Sports. "Also (competitive) game(s) is a reflection of society where women are underpaid compared to men.

"Now attendance at women's games with every one other accompanied by viewers on TV are increasing dramatically. That coupled accompanied by a better climate for communal justice inside the last set of two years is eventually ramping up the discussions for identical pay. On the 50th anniversary of Title IX, I hope sports tin assist lead the way for identical pay for women everywhere."

Female golfers are employed firm to bridge the pay gap.

Australian Minjee Lee said gaining the trust with every one other accompanied by backing of a greatest sponsor exist fond of ProMedica is "a enormous step inside the just direction" for women's golf. And feminine pro athletes inside general.

"I believe it's only going to obtain better with every one other accompanied by better," Lee added.

When Annika Sorenstam won this event inside 1996 at Pine Needles, she took place of residence $212,500 with every one other accompanied by became the earliest feminine golfer to surpass $1 million inside career earnings.

On Sunday, the champion will be paid almost twice that for winning one tournament.

"I believe it's fantastic," Sorenstam said. "That is a massive change. It's a massive boost. It gives the women a a large amount additional credibility with every one other accompanied by respect. ... I hope other tournaments will go nearer behind suit, with every one other accompanied by let's retain employed this way for other women."

With ProMedica's backing, the U.S. Women's Open purse is place to grow yearly to $12 million inside the following five years.

"Seeing the sponsors that we have not here here on the LPGA Tour, seeing the purse increases, the TV coverage, that's what we want," said American Lexi Thompson, the world's No. 6-ranked golfer. "We want to grow the game with every one other accompanied by depart from it inside a better place."

Karen Stupples started playing on the LPGA Tour inside an epoch when women struggled to build a living.

Her earliest career competition paycheck was for $1,306 inside 1999 when she finished tied for 58th at the Phillips Invitational.

"I fair can't wrap my head around what a difference this could maybe build for somebody," said Stupples, now a commentator for NBC covering this week's U.S. Open. "I can't flat properly speak concerning it. I mean, my goodness, what a go this is."

Jin Young Ko, the world's No. 1 feminine player, said it's a a large amount of money at stake — with every one other accompanied by she plans to donate some of it spine if she wins.

"I want to assist children that want to exist LPGA players," Ko said. "I want to assist them. If I win, I will do that."


AP Golf Writer Doug Ferguson contributed to this report.


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