Golf is an easy target for those who don’t play and don’t understand the inextricable hold it has on those of us who do play. We’ve heard the litany: Elitist, discriminatory, too expensive, a waste of natural resources.
It even infects our politics. Republicans lament how much golf President Obama plays. Democrats mock President-Elect Donald Trump’s golf course portfolio.
The world, one might surmise, would be a better place without it.
The Morgan Pressel Foundation annually suggests otherwise. The foundation on Monday concluded its two-day Morgan & Friends Tournament to raise money to fight cancer, notably breast cancer. Pressel’s mother, Kathryn Krickstein Pressel, died of the disease at an early age.
For the second straight year, Pressel’s event raised in excess of $1 million, a staggering sum considering that Pressel, though a major champion, is not a superstar and plays a women’s sport that has to fight for whatever scant attention it receives on an overpopulated sports landscape.
Morgan & Friends, though, is only the latest example of the game’s charitable largesse.
The PGA Tour has helped its tournaments generate more than $2 billion for their local charities. Each year, several tournaments donate more than $8 million each to the charities they support.
Most of the game’s best players have their own foundations that conduct golf outings to raise money, including Tiger Woods, with his annual Tiger Woods Invitational, at Pebble Beach.
And how do baseball, basketball, football and hockey stars raise money for their charities? They usually hold golf tournaments.
Meanwhile, at the grass roots level, from schools and churches to Rotary Clubs and Boys and Girls Clubs and everything in between, golf tournaments are important fundraisers.
Yes, the game is probably too expensive, occasionally elitist, even discriminatory. But, as Morgan & Friends demonstrated once again, it also is the most benevolent of sports and as such deserves applause rather than contempt.