Inside Golf : Inside Golf August 2017
www.insidegolf.com.au | August 2017 33 women www.insidegolf.com.au/womensgolf Bree’s parents had been her biggest supporters over the years she played on the leT, they had been very generous in providing her with whatever financial support they could afford. However, this support combined with the prizemoney she had earned was not enough to provide her with the resources she felt she needed moving forward. While grateful for her parents’ unwavering support, it also created more pressure for Bree, as she felt that if she didn’t perform she was also letting them down, and she felt indebted to them. For the time being Bree’s international playing career was done, it was time for her to do something else. I have little doubt that had Bree had the financial means available she would have kept fighting to play. even though her confidence was shattered I really think that the self-belief was still deep down there somewhere. Those who understand the world of professional golf know how fickle the game can be, you hear stories often of players winning one week and then missing a string of cuts soon after. This is the nature of the game and what makes it so tough, especially for our female players who in general have very little sponsorship and make a small percentage of what our male counterparts make in terms of prizemoney. The pressure of playing professional golf with financial strains lurking in the back of your mind is one of the hardest things to do, I have been there and done that. Making a four- foot putt to try to make the cut is hard enough without knowing that you have no means to get to the next tournament if you miss it. I have seen so many very talented young women quit playing in recent years due to their finances running out and it is heart- wrenching to watch. In professional sport success does not often come immediately and you need time to learn the ropes and settle into life on tour far away from your support network. Very few young women golfers have this luxury and many are giving away the sport without realistically having a chance, competing against players who have sponsors or are being supported by their national Golf Federation as many of the european girls are. They can afford to have a pro caddy, stay in decent hotels and get physio treatment when required, and they also get to go home to their family and friends for a day most weeks. For most of our players the story is unfortunately very different. Bree had earned around €170,000 in her six years on the leT, and once you take into account travel costs, caddy wages, entry fees etc which add up to a minimum of around €1500 per week that money does not last very long, especially if you take into account the cost of treating and rehabilitating a serious injury. I performed a little exercise to see how much Bree’s “counterpart” on the Men’s european Tour would have earned each year finishing in the positions that Bree did at the end of the season. I was astounded; I knew that the difference would be fairly significant but was not prepared for the outcome. For a male professional finishing 81st, 49th, 48th, 63rd, 80th and 130th in the seasons from 2011 to 2016 on the european Tour they would have made €2,855,927, Bree made €170,684 or just under 6% of that amount for performing the very same job. Without doubt the male professional who lost their card on the european Tour in 2016 finishing 130th (earning €183,616) has the means to return to qualifying school if that is what they choose to do, or even take a year out to practice, work on their game, or get treatment for an injury. sadly, Bree did not have these options. “Go see a sports psychologist or a different coach or sports doctor,” were likely suggestions to her, but where do you get the money to pay for these experts which the male professional in Bree’s shoes would take for granted and not think twice about doing? Bree would make contact with her coach back in australia via text message and sending videos via email, she couldn’t afford to fly back and forth from europe to australia. I can hear those out there saying “there go the women again moaning about inequality.” However, unfortunately, the reality is that in professional sport it is the case way more often that it is in the regular business world. In 2010 the alPG had 28 of our members in the top 500 of the rolex Women’s World rankings, as of today we have just 11. I am not sure exactly what the answer is, but we all need to try find ways to better support our women professional players to give them a genuine opportunity to succeed internationally. Back to Bree: she is currently working at st Michael’s Golf Club in sydney and is in the process of completing the PGa Bridging course after which she will be a fully qualified PGa Professional. she is really enjoying life back home in australia, is feeling refreshed and feels that being away from tour life has helped put a healthy context into her life. deep down, Bree feels that there is unfinished business out there on tour and she still has the desire to play. Her newfound ability to see things differently and more objectively may well be one of the keys to her succeeding back out on tour. 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Inside Golf July 2017