At forty, Catriona Matthew’s veteran status on the LPGA Tour is beyond doubt. She’s played in five Solheim Cups and bagged her fair share of victories, including the 2009 Ladies British Open. Her fifteen-year career, in which she’s managed to amass somewhere in the region of $6m, has taught its fair share of lessons, a fact made abundantly clear in an interview with John Huggan from yesterday’s Scotsman.
While much of what Matthew had to say about the Solheim Cup and the challenges facing the LPGA is really worthwhile– I encourage you all to take a look at it— it’s her views on institutionalised sexism and the men’s game that really merit attention, particularly in light of today’s earlier debate on the Tavistock Cup (or the Excess Classic, as Geoff Shackelford has dubbed it):
“Sadly, I’m resigned to the fact that we will never get the same level of attention as the men and I’m tired of banging my head off that wall. I can’t see, for example, a day in my lifetime where, as in tennis, we make as much money as the men.
“Don’t get me wrong though. I don’t want to appear bitter – I can’t say I’ve got anything to complain about lifestyle-wise – but the men make ridiculous amounts of money, too much money really, to the point where they almost put people off watching them. I saw Bubba Watson lose in the match play a couple of weeks ago and he was laughing. He just didn’t seem to care. I guess when you make as much as they do, you lose some of the incentive to win.”
Is there a threshold beyond which prize money stops being attractive or exciting and starts being vulgar? And if so, how or where do you go about drawing a line during this, golf’s most decadent era? Not only that, but are her views regarding the future of the women’s game born of unsentimental realism or a sort misplaced fatalism in the face of the LPGA’s recent decline?