R&A chief says bid to grow prize funds in women's golf is 'snowballing'

Martin Slumbers keen to keep building AIG Women’s Open

Prize-money for last year's AIG Women's Open increased by 40 per cent to $4.5 million. Picture: R&A via Getty Images
Prize-money for last year's AIG Women's Open increased by 40 per cent to $4.5 million. Picture: R&A via Getty Images

Chief executive Martin Slumbers has reiterated his aim for the R&A to play a role in prize-money increasing in women's golf, saying he feels "there's a rolling snowball developing".

Last year, the St Andrews-based governing body increased the prize pot for the AIG Women's Open by 40 per cent to $4.5 million.

Sign up to our daily newsletter

That has been retained for this week's historic first staging of the major at Royal Troon, but Slumbers is targetting further increases in the future as part of the R&A's commitment to the women's game.

"We are committed as an organisation to moving prize-money in women's sport and to building a sustainable business model to be able to justify that," he said. "We took a significant increase in the prize money last year moving it up 40 per cent.

"This year our commitment is staging the championship, but we will absolutely look to move up and it's my job to sell and market this event to sponsors and partners.

"I think that there's a rolling snowball developing and I would look to all corporates to help get this behind women's sport and grow that prize money.

"We're committed, absolutely committed to doing that, but in a sustainable way."

Golf clubs around the UK have seen membership numbers increase since the sport was one of the first to get the green light following the Covid-19 lockdown.

Slumbers said of that: "This could be a real opportunity for the game if we can grasp it and start showing the game in a positive way.

"I think we have done a really good job of portraying golf as good for your health, good for your mind, and a sport that you can do in a socially distant and responsible way.

"There's always been a lot of sport lovers, but if you love team sports, whether you watch or play, that's going to be a challenge for the foreseeable future, and they are turning to golf.

"But our real challenge now is to make it sustainable. We've still got to keep changing and we've still got to keep being modern and relevant.

"It's been an extraordinary five or six months, and I think golf is right up there, and I intend to use my efforts to maximise the value."

A message from the Editor:

Thank you for reading this story on our website. While I have your attention, I also have an important request to make of you.With the coronavirus lockdown having a major impact on many of our advertisers - and consequently the revenue we receive - we are more reliant than ever on you taking out a digital subscription.Subscribe to scotsman.com and enjoy unlimited access to Scottish news and information online and on our app. With a digital subscription, you can read more than 5 articles, see fewer ads, enjoy faster load times, and get access to exclusive newsletters and content. Visit https://www.scotsman.com/subscriptions now to sign up.

Our journalism costs money and we rely on advertising, print and digital revenues to help to support them. By supporting us, we are able to support you in providing trusted, fact-checked content for this website.

Joy YatesEditorial Director