The USGA Has A Sponsor For The Women’s Open. Will A Men’s Major Be Auctioned Off Next?

There is much to welcome in the announcement that the purse for this year’s U.S. Women’s Open will increase to $10 million, not least that it’s a rare example of riches being promised professional golfers from sources other than a murderous regime. After years of golf’s great and good proving themselves content to sign expressions of noble sentiment about investing in the women’s game, they are finally signing checks.

The U.S. Women’s Open prize fund is almost doubling from $5.5 million, with a commitment to further raise it to $12 million within five years. The R&A has said the purse for the 2022 AIG Women’s Open will be at least $6.8 million, more than twice what it was just four years ago. And Chevron will boost prize money by 60 percent when it debuts in April as title sponsor of the LPGA’s first major, still fondly known as the Dinah Shore, though it’s had more name changes than Zsa Zsa Gabor (Google her, kids).

But Friday’s blockbuster reveal by the USGA’s CEO, Mike Whan, has implications beyond the bank account of the last-standing lady who leaves Pine Needles with $1.8 million in June. Not least for Whan’s organization itself.

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Gay Men Are Nearly Invisible In Golf, But We’re Not Non-Existent

The familiar rap against golf is that expressions of diversity in our game are limited to wearing unconventional shades of khaki, that it’s a buttoned-up, hidebound world that stubbornly remains the preserve of white, male, affluent, conservative, Christian, heterosexual, country club Republicans with woeful fashion sense.

Admittedly, you can throw a pebble on the PGA Tour and hit someone who ticks all of those boxes — and you wouldn’t have to aim carefully — but like all stereotypes it fails to fully reflect a more nuanced reality. A visit to most golf facilities will reveal people separated by race, gender and umpteen other differences but united by a passion for the game. Golf also has diversity not so readily apparent to the naked eye.

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Trump’s Golf Game is a Lot Like His Presidency

You can learn a lot about how a president governs by watching his golf game. Bill Clinton, for example, had a reputation for cheating. George W. Bush rushed along, blind to the bigger picture. Gerald Ford was endearingly hapless. And then there’s President Donald J. Trump.

I played with him just once, on August 20, 2010, and it was quite an experience. At the time, I worked at Golf Magazine and had been invited to join the editor in chief and a corporate executive at Trump National Golf Club in Bedminster, New Jersey. Back then, Trump was overly solicitous of golf media, eager to influence their course ranking lists to include his properties. The character I saw and heard over those few hours has since become a familiar part of public life.

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