Market dictates purse
NEWPORT, R.I. » The prize money at the U.S. Women's Open is $3.1 million, by far the largest purse on the LPGA Tour, but not even half as much as the $6.8 million the USGA doled out to the men two weeks ago at Winged Foot.
That's not about to change.
USGA executive director David Fay said yesterday that the market dictates the size of the purse, noting that the men's U.S. Open draws a larger audience, has more entries and more press coverage.
"In an ideal world, they would be equal," Fay said. "When you're dealing with an athletic competition, that's also an entertainment product. You really pay what the marketplace drives. I would like to believe the WNBA should have the same salary structure as the NBA, but it doesn't happen that way."
The question arose because of a renewed push at Wimbledon that men and women get paid the same. The latest to endorse equal pay was British Prime Minister Tony Blair.
Fay, however, said golf and tennis don't compare because the U.S. Open is held on different courses at different dates.
"If you had the U.S. Open and the U.S. Women's Open on the same facility the same week, certainly there would be equal prize money because how would you know why you're coming to the event?" he said. "Would you be coming to see (Annika) Sorenstam or would you be coming to see (Tiger) Woods? But that's not the case here."
Match play additions:
Laura Davies and Lorie Kane received some good news on a foggy, rainy and windy afternoon at Newport Country Club -- both were added to the HSBC Women's World Match Play Championship next week.
Davies and Kane failed to qualify through the world ranking or the LPGA Tour money list, but they were the two sponsor's exemptions into the 64-player field, which pays $500,000 to the winner.
Some of the bunkers at Newport Country Club are caked with mud from all the rain.
And those are the bunkers in good shape.
USGA officials are mainly concerned with 2 feet of water in some of the bunkers because of a low water table, particularly one to the right of the par-3 17th.
"All of the bunkers have been pumped already," said Mike Davis, senior director of rules and competition. "The bunker that's short right of the 17th green has been pumped probably four or five times, and the water just keep coming back in."
The solution is to get enough dry sand in the bunkers so players can take a free drop from balls that are submerged.
spent the last couple of years making changes to her swing, and it finally paid off when she won the Kraft Nabisco Championship for her seventh career major. She also won at Kingsmill and lost in a playoff at the LPGA Championship.
But along with countless hours on the range with coach Ian Triggs, a trip to a sports psychologist also helped.
The biggest change? Playing faster.
Webb believes she was trying to process so much information that she stayed too long over the ball and got bogged down in too many technical aspects of the swing. After seeing the Australian sports psychologist, she changed her pre-shot routine to hit the ball sooner.
That's what she was working on with Triggs earlier this week.
"Everything looked good in my swing, I just wasn't hitting it very good," Webb said. "I just went to pulling the trigger a little quicker, and I'm back to hitting the ball to where I'd like to see it at this stage before the tournament."
helped design a turquoise jumper that she wore in the final round of the LPGA Championship. At the start of this week, she was going through a catalog of Nike clothes to pick out a new wardrobe.
Indeed, she is becoming a fashion queen inside the ropes.
Back at Punahou School, however, it's a different story. She wears a "uniform."