Golfworld’s Ron Sirak has a good article on the changing fortunes in the economics of the LPGA. A telling quote:
When Meg Mallon won the 2004 U.S. Women’s Open she wore a hat purchased in The Orchards golf shop and her caddie carried a bag uncluttered by corporate logos. The following week, after she took the Canadian Women’s Open, Mallon received one congratulatory call from an equipment rep—and no endorsement offers. What made the situation more depressing was that Mallon had 17 LPGA victories, including four majors, and possessed one of the most marketable personalities in her sport.
“It’s very frustrating when you watch the men’s qualifying school and the winners say [golf manufacturers] are throwing money at them right and left, and our tour can’t even get a bonus pool,” she said at the time. She was not alone in her frustration: Beth Daniel, Juli Inkster and Rosie Jones were unrepresented or under-represented in endorsement deals.
My how things have changed. Buoyed by a bevy of marketable stars, the LPGA now has economic pull. Annika Sorenstam earned $9.5 million in endorsements; Paula Creamer, $4.3; Lorena Ochoa $1.9. Carrie Webb, Suzanne Pettersen, Natalie Gulbis, Morgan Pressel, Cristie Kerr, Se Ri Pak, Mi Hyun Kim, Jeong Jang and Ai Miyazato all earned seven figures in off-the-course monies.
It’s a good read.