Golf & MoneyJanuary 11, 2017

Undercover Tour Pro: Lending Money to Fellow Players Can Be Awkward

Illustration by Christian Northeast

I don't think it's fair to name names, so all I'll say is, there's a player, a guy who had a great rookie season this year, who might not have ever made it to the PGA Tour if not for financial assistance from another player. He was on the mini-tours and out of money when a veteran gave him 15 grand to keep going. Enough to keep entering tournaments and eat something other than fast-food.

Whether it was because the veteran believed in his talent, or because they're from the same home state, who knows? All I know is, the first time they were paired together, playing for real money on TV, the handful of us who were aware of the story recognized how unique it was.

Most players don't spread wealth down the system. Generally, the view out here is, everyone is on his own journey. If you've got game, it will work out. And if you do help another golfer, you should consider it a loan that will never be paid back. Which is hard, because it's your buddy, and you want to believe him when he says, "Yeah, bro, hittin' it great; just need to see a few more putts drop." But deep down you can't. And because you probably haven't set a payoff date or any real terms, neither one of you has any idea how to behave, how to fulfill your obligation as lender or debtor. Despite the friendliest intentions, all it takes is one of you feeling awkward before you end up avoiding each other.

With Max Adler


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