Professional Golf Loses All Perspective in a Panic Move

There’s nothing surer, the rich get rich and the poor get poorer. At least in professional golf.

The PGA stubs its toe

Professional golf has just come up with an idea no one needs and will simply cast in bronze its reputation as a rich man’s sport. This, at a time when junior clinics around the country are trying to encourage young kids to take up the game.

Not rich kids. Middle and under-class kids to support the public sport.

According to an announcement in Golfweek, the PGA Tour plans to create a $40 million bonus pool for stars like Tiger Woods and Bryson DeChambeau, regardless of how they perform on the course. The new system is designed to compensate players who are judged to drive fan and sponsor engagement, like Tiger Woods, Bryson DeChambeau and Rickie Fowler.

Really?

I watch a lot of golf and consider myself a fan, but golfers who ‘move the needle’ (whatever needle that may be is left to the imagination) are going to split up all that dough at the end of the year. That’s supposed to drive my engagement.

I might remind the golfing-world-gurus who came up with this idea that winners of tournaments already move their personal financial needles by over a million bucks a pop. The 2021 RBC Heritage paid the winner $1,278,000 and the Masters tucked $2,070,000 in Hideki Matsuyama’s pocket.

Forbes has the numbers

Forbes always has the numbers and broke down 2020 player earnings by endorsements and salary:

Woods made $60 million in endorsements and $2.3 million in salary; McIlroy made $30 million in endorsements and $22 million in salary; Mickelson made $40 million in endorsements and $800,000 in salary; and Spieth made $26 million in endorsements and $1.6 million in salary. 

Jordan Spieth suffered through a four-year struggle when his game deserted him, then finally won again in 2021, but still banked $27.6 million in 2020. How on earth does a forty million dollar bonus pool actually compensate players on that level?

The rumor is the Saudi’s are grabbing our biggest names

(Financial Express) Scoff all you want, you armchair bleeding hearts, but your displeasure is unlikely to have had any bearing on your favorite European-, and PGA Tour players’ decisions to tee it up at the ongoing Saudi International. And they’re all there, with two notable exceptions — Tiger Woods, and Rory McIlRoy — who’ve taken the moral high ground, and held it, steadfastly.

But besides Messrs. Woods and McIlroy, the entire legion of superheroes has descended on the sands of the Al Murooj GC in the kingdom to, well, not save the world, it has to be said, but fight for the spoils.

Hat’s off to Tiger and Rory, along with a sincere wish that Tiger recovers from his current injury to thrill us yet again.

Here’s another idea

The ladies over at the LPGA could really use a $40 million incentive—across the board. Winning the 2021 Lotte Championship paid $300,000. They play truly inspiring golf, winners coming in under par the equal to men’s stats.

According to the most recent LPGA money list, the median income for all players is $141,428. The top 10 percent of players earned a median of $1,320,900 and played in at least 20 tournaments. The lowest 10 percent only brought in $5,924 and may have only played in 10 to 15 tournaments.

If you dudes over at the PGA are serious about moving the needle on golf’s fan and sponsor engagement, do what Arnie Palmer did decades ago—sprinkle that forty mil around the LPGA purses.

But the PGA is on a fool’s errand with a bonus pool…they won’t beat the Saudis nor will they lift the LPGA.


Photo Credit: golfchannel.com

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