LPGA budget taking a major hit


Total prize money for LPGA pros could plunge to as low as $40 million next season, according to industry experts.

That would be more than $24 million less than the women played for last year.

Even with acting commissioner Marty Evans winning player approval for the strong campaign she’s mounting renewing title sponsorships thought to be lost over the last 10 weeks, the hit to the LPGA budget is substantial. When Evans took over in July, there were just 13 LPGA events under contract for next season. The tour estimates it will feature a schedule of 22 to 25 events in 2010, down from 27 this year and 34 a year ago.

The LPGA hasn’t put out a schedule with fewer than 25 events since 1971.

Every tournament the LPGA loses damages the association’s bottom line and explains the reasons behind Wednesday’s news that deputy commissioner Libba Galloway’s position will be eliminated at year’s end and that seven other staff positions have been cut.

With an LPGA record $64 million in prize money played for a year ago, according to the tour media guide, the association is looking at more than a 30 percent plunge in purses in a span of two seasons.

According to industry sources, that could translate to between $1.1 million and $1.5 million in lost revenue to the tour from the ’08 budget. The LPGA takes about 6 percent from purses to fund the association.

With the LPGA amid a search for its next commissioner, Evans says she will continue to look for ways to make the organization more efficient while balancing the bottom line.