Whan sees strength in growth, not gap, of LPGA prize money
Matt Sullivan / Getty Images Sport / Getty

Every week brings a sobering reminder of how much more money the men play for on the PGA Tour than the women do on the LPGA Tour.

With four tournaments left in the LPGA Tour season, Danielle Kang became the 11th player to break the $1 million mark. The PGA Tour had 112 players earn at least $1 million last season. Already nine players have made at least $1 million through six PGA Tour events this season.

Mike Whan brought a different perspective Tuesday at the LPGA Tour's new BMW Ladies Championship in South Korea.

Prize money for the women is growing at a rate Whan didn't think possible when he took over as commissioner in 2010. It's also growing for the men.

''Not sure if we have closed the gap, even though we are playing for dramatically more money,'' Whan said. ''When I started, we were playing for just over $40 million and now we're playing for over $70 million. But the fact is, the men's (prize money) has grown as well. As a result, I don't want to be depressed by that. I think when golf and golf purses are growing for men and women, that's a good opportunity.''

The LPGA Tour had 24 events and official prize money of $41.4 million in 2010. Whan said it had only one tournament with a purse of $3 million or more. This season, it had 32 official events and $70.2 million in prize money, an increase of 70%. Five tournaments had prize money of $3 million or more.

The PGA Tour had 46 official events in 2010 and 2019, and prize money grew from $310.1 million (including $35 million in FedEx Cup bonuses) to $413.6 million (including $60 million from the FedEx Cup and $10 million from the Wyndham Rewards). That's an increase of 33%.

Whan still has his eye on the gap, and he knows that closing it will take time.

''I have not had to be too loud about closing the gap because society has taken that banner for me,'' he said. ''Almost all of my sponsors, almost all of my tournaments, almost all of the people that help lift the LPGA are interested in lifting those purses and equalizing that difference, as well.

''But the reality of it is we have grown significantly, and the gap is about the same.''

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Whan sees strength in growth, not gap, of LPGA prize money
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