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R&A Chief Executive Martin Slumbers Defends Pay Gap

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R&A chief executive Martin Slumbers is defending the massive pay gap in regards to the purses for The Open Championship and the Women’s British Open.

Slumbers was being flooded with questions from the media regarding the sizable disparity, but stood his ground in defending it.

“We’re as ambitious for the Women’s British Open as we are for The Open,” Slumbers said, according to ESPN’s Mark Schlabach. “But as I have said previously, we want to grow the women’s game. We’re passionate about growing the women’s game, but we need to build a sustainable women’s game, and that means building a bigger amateur game right from the very beginning up to the top.

“To build the economics of the Women’s British Open, to be able to keep raising the prize money we need to do it as a sustainable business model. It needs to be a long-term business model, and that is what we are spending a long time doing. How do we build a better model to have a more financially successful Women’s British Open that will flow then down into the prize money? Where it ends up, I don’t know. But my ambition is to keep growing the overall performance of it and keep enhancing the status of the event.”

The purse for the 148th Open Championship at Royal Portrush Golf Club this week is $10.75 million, with the Champion Golfer of the Year collecting $1.935 million.

In comparison, the purse for the 43rd Women’s British Open is $4.5 million, with the winner taking home $675,000.

“As we’re looking at the Women’s British Open, how we attract more people to watch the championship, to watch it live or watch it on TV, it may be that only being on links courses might not be the right answer. I wouldn’t be surprised to see with the Women’s British Open a mix of some of the great inland courses and the great links courses, but all aimed at trying to make the championship more engaged with by the public.”

“There’s been a lot of talk about (taking The Open outside England) and I think that’s because of the success of bringing it to Royal Portrush,” Slumbers said. “But we have 10 courses in the pool that we use and we think they’re the best links courses in the world, and we’re happy with those courses.

“If we think about the past few years, going back to Carnoustie, going back to Hoylake and coming back to here, they’ve been great successes. We are not looking, at the moment, beyond those 10 courses.”

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European Tour Suspends Thorbjorn Olesen

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Thorbjorn Olesen

The European Tour has officially suspended Thorbjorn Olesen pending the investigation into his recent arrest on charges of being drunk on an aircraft a and assaulting a female passenger while she slept.

Olesen was arrested at Heathrow Airport on July 29th upon his return from the World Golf Championships event in Tennessee, and he is set to appear in court on August 21st to face charges of sexual assault, being drunk on an aircraft and common assault, according to Metropolitan Police in London.

The European Tour issued a statement saying that Olesen has been suspended pending the outcome of his case, adding that they would not make any further comments on the matter while the legal process moves forward.

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USGA Announced Amateur Champs Can Turn Pro, Play in US Open

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USGA

The USGA announced on Monday their decision that, starting with this year’s tournaments, the reigning U.S. Amateur and U.S. Women’s Amateur champions will be able to utilize their exemptions in the following year’s U.S. Open and U.S. Women’s Open even if they decide to turn pro, according to ESPN’s Mark Schlabach.

Prior to the new rule, the amateur champions received exemptions in the U.S. Open and U.S. Women’s Open only if they maintained their amateur status.

“We believe this change gives our champions an important option as they choose whether and when to embark on their professional careers,” said John Bodenhamer, USGA managing director, Champions. “Given the significant purses awarded at the U.S. Open and U.S. Women’s Open, we realize how important it is for players to make the most appropriate decision for his or her career, and the positive impact it could have at the outset of their professional careers.”

“Given the opportunities afforded the U.S. Amateur and U.S. Women’s Amateur champions, we want to make sure they are able to take advantage of as many as possible,” Bodenhamer said. “We feel strongly that our reigning champions have earned their places in the U.S. Open and U.S. Women’s Open, regardless of their amateur status.”

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Tiger Woods Commits to Playing First Two FedEx Cup Playoff Events

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Tiger Woods has officially committed to playing in the first two events of the FedEx Cup Playoffs taking place next month, according to ESPN’s Mark Schlabach.

Woods, 43, skipped the WGC-FedEx St. Jude Invitational that took place in Memphis last week, and has played only four times since winning the Masters for the fifth time back in April of this year.

Woods officially announced that he is committed to playing at The Northern Trust at Liberty National Golf Club in Jersey City, New Jersey next week, and at the BMW Championship at Medinah Country Club in Medinah, Illinois, which takes place the week after.

It will mark only the second time this season that Woods has played in tournaments in consecutive weeks. 

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