A Financial Tale of Two Golf Worlds: PGA vs LPGA

Let’s compare the latest recession-ravaged numbers in men’s and women’s professional golf. Here is the ratings/prize situation in men’s golf’s PGA with Tiger Woods back:

  • NBC and CBS averaged a combined 2.0 Nielsen rating in 2009, only slightly behind the 2.1 when Tiger last played a full schedule
  • Prize money dipped slightly from $279-million to $275-million, as events fell by one (!) to 48

Well, that doesn’t seem so bad, does it. Prize money is still impressive, and ratings are solid.

Here, however, is the ratings/prize situation in women’s golf’s LPGA:

  • LPGA Nielsen ratings average around 0.8
  • Tournaments will drop to 25 next year, the lowest number since 1971
  • Prize money has dipped to $47-million, down from $64-million

Blame whatever suits you, but the LPGA seems in very big trouble. These aren’t yet Professional Women’s Bowling Association numbers, but the the recession has made a bad situation much worse.

More reading:

"Amid turmoil, LPGA makes cuts", NYT 10/8/2009

"Woods revives PGA Tour ratings," SportsBusiness Journal, 10/5/2009

"Total prize money dips on PGA Tour for first time since 1970s", SportsBusiness Journal, 8/3/2009