LIV Golf critic blasts LET over Saudi Ladies International equal pay news

LIV Golf critic and Golf Channel co-host Eamon Lynch has taken a dim view of news the Aramco Saudi Ladies International will have a prize purse of $5m.

Ben Smith's picture
Thu, 10 Nov 2022
LIV Golf critic blasts LET over Saudi Ladies International equal pay news

Golf Channel analyst and prominent LIV Golf critic Eamon Lynch took a dim view of the big news the Aramco Saudi Ladies International will have a prize purse of $5m next year. 

Women's golf has had a huge week with the announcement of some enormous purse increases. 

It was announced on Tuesday by the LPGA Tour that next year's Pelican Ladies Championship [that will now be known as The Annika] will have a prize purse of $3.5m

Related: LPGA Tour announce Solheim Cup shake-up

Also confirmed was that next February the Aramco Saudi Ladies International on the Ladies European Tour [LET] will have a prize purse of $5m, meaning that the winner will receive $750,000. 

It means that it will have the same prize purse equal to the men's PIF Saudi International that is now played on the Asian Tour. 

LIV Golf's Harold Varner III is the reigning champion of that event after he holed one of the biggest eagle putts we have ever seen on the 72nd hole at Royal Greens Golf and Country Club in Saudi Arabia's King Abdullah Economic City. 

Lynch has been one of the biggest critics of LIV Golf, consistently calling out the Saudis and taking aim at the likes of Phil Mickelson and Sergio Garcia

Reacting to the news, Lynch said the difference is that LET members have been left with "no choice".

He said on Golf Today:

"If you look at the difference in prize funds, even on the LPGA Tour versus the PGA Tour, it's obviously a vast difference. 
"If you go from the LPGA Tour to the LET it's an enormous drop in prize money. A lot of the prize funds in LET events are roughly around $200,000. 
"The ARAMCO Team Series events [that] are Saudi-sponsored are upwards of $1m. Now they are offering this one-off event with a $5m prize fund. Of course people are going to show up for it.
"To me, the difference here with LIV is that players who were already on lucrative tours took a decision to go to another tour for money. The difference here is the LET is leaving its members with no choice.
"You either go play for these people [the Saudis] and your normalize their sportswashing or you don't work. This is on the LET." 

Lynch described the Saudis' investment professional golf as "a bribe". 

Related: Mickelson accused of "pure gaslighting"

He continued:  

"I don't know if its an investment anymore so than its essentially a bribe to say, 'Here, normalize us.' This is pocket change for the Saudis. [If] MBS [Mohammed bin Salman] loses $5m in the couch he's not going to miss it at all but it serves a purpose because this is again the normalisation process. 
"If you start to try to buy your way into the women's game ... well in their mind it makes it harder and harder to make a case out of the human rights and misogyny issues [and] how the Saudi regime conducts itself. And the LET is willing to allow themselves to be used as that purpose." 


The LET playing their fifth and final event of the Aramco Team Series in Jeddah this week. 

The series sees 36 teams of four players -  including one amateur - battling it out for the lion's share of the $1m prize purses. 

So far, Manon de Roey, Bronte Law, Nelly Korda and Lexi Thompson have all respectively won events in Bangkok, London, Sotogrande and New York.

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