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Ken Borland

Earning enough week-to-week with the gender pay-gap is the challenge for SA women’s golf pros 0

Posted on September 03, 2021 by Ken

There are numerous South African golfers competing and excelling overseas, especially in Europe, these days.

And while the winning performances of the likes of Garrick Higgo and Dean Burmester on the European Tour, and Branden Grace, Higgo and Erik van Rooyen on the U.S. PGA Tour understandably hog the limelight, there are many other golfers just trying to make a living on those big tours. South Africa have seven full-time golfers on the main tour in the United States, four of which also regularly play in Europe, alongside 16 other South Africans.

Less well-known is the fact that there are six South African women’s golfers in the top 100 on the Ladies European Tour. And when one compares the prizemoney they win to their compatriots on the men’s tours, the massive pay disparities when it comes to gender become apparent.

Darren Fichardt is 99th on the European Tour order of merit and has won more than 170 000 euro n seven tournaments this year; Stacy Bregman is 100th on the Ladies European Tor standings and has won just over 52 500 euro in 11 events.

Even at the top end of the rankings, the story is the same. Justin Harding is 20th in the Race to Dubai and has earned more than 610 000 euro in 19 starts; Ashleigh Buhai is 21st on the LET and has won just 93 254 euro.

The majority of South African golfers overseas are not winning titles, they are just trying to accumulate enough money week-by-week to keep playing over there and hopefully get the breakthrough win that secures their card. That challenge is especially hard for the women: On the men’s European Tour this year there is not a single tournament that has a prize pool of less than a million euro; only nine out of 26 LET events reach that benchmark.

The two women’s majors played in Europe – the second of which, the AIG Women’s Open, is being held this weekend at Carnoustie – have a prize fund of 3.8 million euro, which would rank 12th highest on the men’s tour.

“Playing golf overseas is an expensive sport, especially doing it week-to-week, there are huge overheads if you don’t have help. If it weren’t for my sponsor Investec, I would definitely not be able to represent the country in Europe and maybe inspire the younger generation that it is possible. And you have to go overseas to play better golf, playing against the best in the world can only improve your game.

“In the future, hopefully more youngsters from South Africa can make a good living from golf. It’s a tough sport and a lot of girls are intimidated to play it. We want to make it a sport for everyone and to show that we definitely need to get more women watching us play. But to do that we need more media exposure, it has to be in your face for people to notice,” Bregman told The Citizen.

Of course, the argument that the men enjoy such large paydays because they attract greater viewership and more sponsorship will be made. But part of the reason for their bigger viewership figures is that the men’s game enjoys greater promotion, while not as much effort is made to explain just how skilful women’s golfers are, not relying so much on power games.

For instance, research has shown that women golfers are more accurate from 120 yards in, but those are the sort of in-depth stats that coverage of their sport does not employ to the same extent as the men.

“Our only hope of seeing the gap in prizemoney close is for people to see how good our product is. We should actually be paid the same because we are playing the same courses. We might not have the same power, and somehow that does not seem to have the same pull when it comes to viewership, but we just don’t play golf the same way the top men do.

“It’s about creating awareness for potential sponsors and I definitely think the skill factor should be highlighted. The average golfer plays a totally different game to the men’s pros, but I think the better men’s amateur golfers can relate more to the women’s game. I think our game does have more skill and the more men that watch us play will hopefully lead to things changing,” Bregman says.

But analyses suggest that even if women are at the forefront of public attention and viewership figures, they still end up learning less. According to the Wall Street Journal, in the three years after winning the 2015 World Cup, the U.S. women’s soccer team generated more revenue than the men’s team. But their earnings did not rise, leading to a landmark lawsuit that tackled the gender pay gap. A judge ruled, however, that because the women’s team had previously negotiated a pay deal that was weighted more towards fixed income than perfomrance bonuses, they could only sue for equal working conditions and they came to a settlement with the U.S. Soccer Federation.

Locally, Investec have been at the forefront of efforts to create more transparency around prizemoney in golf and have been pushing for sponsors to support women’s golf so that the sport can follow tennis and athletics in ensuring that there is no major gap in earnings between the top male and female stars.

Everitt knows medical reasons could force more change, but for now delighted with just the return of Nkosi 0

Posted on October 23, 2020 by Ken

Sharks coach Sean Everitt is realistic enough to know that medical reasons could force him to make numerous changes to his team from week-to-week, but for now he is delighted to name just one change to his starting line-up – especially when that is the return of Sbu Nkosi – for their SuperRugby Unlocked match against the Bulls in Pretoria on Saturday.

Nkosi, part of the Springboks 2019 World Cup winning squad, replaces 2007 World Cup winner JP Pietersen on the right wing, having recovered from the sternum injury that has kept him out of the season thus far.

“You never know when Covid is going to strike someone down, so you have to prepare for it and have a good squad. We’ve been fortunate to have a clean slate for six weeks. It’s not inevitable that someone will get it, but there’s a good chance. You accept it could be the case, you be proactive and prepare in advance. And it helps that our juniors have now finished their U21 competition.

“So we have not made too many changes, but it is notable that Sbu is back, he will bring a lot of energy and the experience he gained at the World Cup. We’re very excited to have another World Cup winning Springbok in the team, he comes with lots of credentials and experience, he’s good under the high ball, dangerous on attack, has good feet and can beat the opposition one-on-one,” Everitt said in announcing his team on Thursday.

Three changes on the bench – the return from injury of hooker Kerron van Vuuren and flank Henco Venter, as well as wing Yaw Penxe’s first call-up – would also appear to strengthen the Sharks and Everitt said he has not had to massage their confidence much after the beating they took on their last visit to Loftus Versfeld, a month ago for SuperFan Saturday, when the Bulls beat them 49-28.

“We’re going with a totally different mindset. We took a squad of 30 that day and we wanted to look at combinations and youngsters who had shown progress to measure where they were. But it’s back to business now, we have a settled squad and a much more experienced team, with lessons learnt on that SuperFan day.

“It will certainly be a different ball game, getting one’s rhythm back sometimes takes time and we were unfortunate that after SuperFan Saturday we had a bye with the Green and Gold game, we played the Lions and then we had another bye. It did not help our continuity, but we are smiling because it meant players came back from injury,” Everitt said.

Sharks team: Manie Libbok, Sbu Nkosi, Lukhanyo Am (c), Marius Louw, Werner Kok, Curwin Bosch, Sanele Nohamba, Sikumbuzo Notshe, Phendulani Buthelezi, James Venter, Hyron Andrews, Ruben van Heerden, Thomas du Toit, Dylan Richardson, Ox Nche. Replacements – Kerron van Vuuren, Mzamo Majola, John-Hubert Meyer, JJ van der Mescht, Henco Venter, Grant Williams, Jeremy Ward, Yaw Penxe.

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    Philemon 1:7 – “Your love has given me great joy and encouragement, because you, brother, have refreshed the hearts of the saints.”

    “Every disciple of Jesus has a capacity for love. The most effective way to serve the Master is to share his love with others. Love can comfort, save the lost, and offer hope to those who need it. It can break down barriers, build bridges, establish relationships and heal wounds.” – A Shelter From The Storm, Solly Ozrovech

    If there’s a frustrating vacuum in your spiritual life and you fervently desire to serve the Lord but don’t know how you’re meant to do that, then start by loving others in his name.


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