Michelle Wie West hasn’t played a full Tour schedule since 2018, but the 32-year-old has still found ways to support the LPGA, including tapping into her significant social media following to help promote the wildly successful #HoodiesForGolf initiative, which raised over $350,000 for charities.
Wie West has increasingly been using her platform to promote equality and diversity in golf, and on this week’s episode of Subpar, she shared her take on the best way to grow the women’s game.
“Support us,” she told hosts Colt Knost and Drew Stoltz. “It starts with podcasts like yourselves, having me, as a female, on.”
Wie West compared the disparity between men’s and women’s purses as a which-came-first chicken and egg scenario.
“Money makes money,” she said. “There has to be a significant investment from broadcast and networks to put in the same amount of network investment on the LPGA Tour.
“Like on the men’s tour, there’s a lot more cameras, there’s Shotlink, there’s a lot more technology to create this entertainment factor for golf tournaments. Whereas the LPGA Tour, we have great entertainment value, we have really entertaining players, but a lot of times that doesn’t get shown because we have less cameras, we have less technology, we have less statistics to showcase these talents on tour.
“When you have a less entertaining product, people are not going to watch it as much, therefore there’s a smaller fan base.”
Wie West said that although the LPGA Tour is trying to find creative ways to gain audience attention, what it really comes down to is investment.
“There has to be a significant investment from the broadcast TV side companies to help create this entertaining product so that more people will come and watch it,” she said.
There’s plenty of reason to be optimistic for the women’s game this year, as 2022 features new tournaments and a record-setting purse size.
“We are trending in the right direction,” Wie West said. “Every year we’re chipping away at it. We have so many great players out there, and so many entertaining stories and different nationalities and cultures on our Tour. I think it’s great.”
For more from Wie West, including when she realized she was an elite golfer and what is was like to play on the PGA Tour as a teenager, check out the full interview below.