Like West, it has sought out other athletes who have fought for change, including Renee Powell, one of the LPGA’s earliest African-American members, and tennis icon Billie Jean King, who called her threat to boycott the 1973 US Open a defense against the women’s champions who spurred the tournament claims to be the first of the Grand Slam events that paid men and women alike for their victories. How West has compared the record to eminent WNBA President Nneka Ogwumike, whose Stanford academic years coincided with hers.
The discussions inspired Wie West to set up an intersport advisory board that could address the pay gap and unequal resources between men’s and women’s sports.
In 2019, the last full season before the coronavirus pandemic disrupted the calendar, 73 players on the pitch topped $ 50,000. That same season on the PGA Tour, the 73rd highest earner earned $ 1,553,149.
The golfer who wins this Sunday takes home $ 1 million, down from $ 5.5 million, the biggest wallet on the tour. This month’s Torrey Pines Men’s US Open winner will receive $ 2.25 million from a $ 12.5 million purse.
Recently, Wie West was reminded by her father-in-law, Jerry West, who works as a consultant for the Los Angeles Clippers, that big money in men’s sports didn’t come overnight.
West, the second overall pick in the 1960 draft, told her he had no agent when he turned pro and was doing an off-season job at Great Western Savings for the duration of his first contract to help with his NBA income.
“He told me the NBA wasn’t a full-time job,” said Wie West. Like the tidal wave, the wave that will lift all the paychecks requires a perfect storm of leadership, talent, notoriety, achievement, and marketing – to be aligned.