British Open: R&A has no time table for women to receive equal prize money

Steve Flynn-USA TODAY Sports

British Open: R&A has no time table for women to receive equal prize money

2019 British Open

British Open: R&A has no time table for women to receive equal prize money

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PORTRUSH, Northern Ireland – The R&A has refused to set a time limit for the Women’s British Open to reach parity with Open Championship prize money. Nor will the governing body take inland courses off the women’s rota.

The R&A recently announced a 40% prize increase for the Women’s British Open from $3.25 million last year to $4.5 million. This week’s Open Championship purse stands at $10.75 million. Critics had hoped the governing body would bring the Women’s British to the same level of prize money since the R&A is now involved in running the championship, and takes full control of the tournament starting next year.

“To build the economics of the Women’s Open, to keep raising the prize money, we need to do it as a sustainable business model,” R&A chief executive Martin Slumbers said Wednesday. “That is what we are spending a lot of time doing. How do we build a better model to have a more financially successful Women’s British Open, but let it lead down into the prize money? Where it ends up, I don’t know. My ambition is to keep growing the overall kudos of it and keep enhancing the status of the event.”

Unlike the Open Championship’s links only policy, the women’s equivalent has a rota that consists of inland and links venues. This year’s tournament is played over the Marquess course at Woburn Golf Club, an inland layout about 60 miles north of London.

Last year’s Women’s British was staged at Royal Lytham, the previous year it was at Kingsbarns, both seaside courses. Inland venue Sunningdale is also on the rota. Slumbers says the R&A has no plans to change that pool of courses any time soon.

“We’re as ambitious for the Women’s British Open as we are for this Open,” Slumbers said. “We’re passionate about growing the women’s game, but we need to build a sustainable women’s game and that means building a bigger amateur game right up to the very top. We’re looking at the Women’s British Open, how we attract more people to the championship, to watch it live, watch it on TV and engage with it, it may be that all being on links courses may not be the right answer.

“We are at Woburn in two weeks’ time and I wouldn’t be surprised to see for the Women’s British Open a mix of some of the great inland golf courses and the great links courses, but all aimed to make the championship more engaged with by the public.”

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