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Gabriella Cowley calls for women’s prize money to be ‘like the guys’

Ladies European Tour star Gabriella Cowley wants the pay gap between men’s and women’s golf to narrow as the women’s game continues to grow in 2024…

 

Gabriella Cowley believes the women’s game is full of promise, but the teething issue of prize money still lingers.

The four-time Rose Ladies Series winner is competing in this week’s $1 million Aramco Team Series event in Tampa, a significant prize boost from the majority of regular Ladies European Tour events in 2024.

The riches that the PGA Tour and the Saudi-funded LIV Golf League have mustered in the last two years somewhat dwarf this pot and both circuits are hosting events worth $20 million in individual prize money this week, as golf’s war on money rages on.

Cowley, playing alongside April Angurasaranee and Christine Wolf at Feather Sound Country Club, sang the praises of Aramco’s investment into the team event which is now in its fourth year, but still wants the financial disparity between men and women to dissipate.

“Everything that Aramco is doing, the events just keep getting bigger and better, which is great,” Cowley told NCG.

“These are some of the best events that we get to play on the LET schedule. All of us are really grateful for the prize fund but also the courses and places that we do get to go.

“Women’s golf has come a long way, but I still think there’s still a little bit to go. Women’s sport in general, not just golf is getting bigger.

“That’s great for us. I just think the pay gap especially on the golf side would be nicer if it was a little bit like the guys.”

The Aramco Team Series first arrived on the LET in 2021. 28 teams of four players, three professionals and one amateur, play across two days, with the individual competition being played over three days.

Tampa will open proceedings in 2024 followed by events in Seoul, London, Asia and Riyadh to come. Each event will have a $1 million purse.

Several of the women’s game’s biggest names have competed in and won on the Aramco Team Series such as Nelly Korda, Charley Hull and Lexi Thompson.

Alice Hewson

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‘Prize money feeds down to the grassroots level’

One-time LET winner Alice Hewson has been encouraged by the increase in prize purses since she turned professional in 2019.

As well as the Aramco Team Series, the majors, the Scandinavian Mixed and the Andalucia Costa Del Sol Open de Espana stand alone as events on the LET schedule that feature pots larger than €500,000.

This unique five-event schedule represents another significant Saudi Arabian investment in the sport, with Aramco also sponsoring the Saudi Ladies International which was won by Patty Tavatanakit last month.

Multi-million purses are a formality on the LPGA Tour with the smallest sum being the $1.5 million pot at the Hilton Grand Vacations Tournament of Champions that kicked off this year’s calendar.

Lydia Ko became the benefactor of a $2 million winner’s prize in 2022 after winning the CME Group Tour Championship, standing as the biggest pay cheque in the history of the women’s game.

Hewson, who came seventh at the Saudi Ladies International in Riyadh last month after coming tied third in Kenya the week before, believes increased prize money not only enhances the professional game, but the benefits trickle down to the grassroots too.

“I’d like to think that with these kinds of prize funds, we’re headed in that direction already for them to become the norm,” Hewson told NCG.

“We’ve already seen an increase in my time and on tour from a minimum of €200,000 to now €300,000. But we’re seeing more and more events where, like this week it’s $500,000 for the individual, $600,000 or a million and now we have Aramco Saudi Ladies Invitational as well which is a $5 million purse.

“You see the majors going up and it’s such a good thing for women’s golf. I think it will encourage more and more people to start playing or to consider turning pro.

“It’s a good stepping stone because ultimately all of that money feeds down to lower levels and grassroots and just gets more people involved, which is only ever a good thing.”

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Matt Chivers

Matt Chivers

Now on the wrong side of 25, Matt has been playing golf since the age of 13 and was largely inspired to take up the game by countless family members who played golf during his childhood.

Matt is a member at Royal Cinque Ports in Deal playing off a 5 handicap, just a pitching wedge away from his hometown of Dover where he went to school and grew up. He has previously been a member at Etchinghill and Walmer and Kingsdown in Kent.

Having studied history at the University of Liverpool, Matt went on to pass his NCTJ Exams in Manchester a year later to fulfil his lifelong ambition of becoming a journalist. He picked up work experience along the way at places such as the Racing Post, the Independent, Sportsbeat and the Lancashire Evening Post.

Matt joined NCG in February 2023 and is the website’s main source of tour news, features and opinion. He has reported live from events such as The Open, the Ryder Cup and The Players Championship, having also interviewed and spent time with some of the biggest names in the sport.

Consuming tour golf on what is a 24/7 basis, you can come to Matt for informed views on the game and the latest updates on the PGA Tour, DP World Tour, LPGA Tour, Ladies European Tour and LIV Golf.

What’s in Matt’s bag: Cobra LTDx LS driver, Cobra LTDx 3-wood, TaylorMade P7MC irons, Ping Glide 4.0 wedges, Odyssey putter.

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