The disqualification of Jim Furyk from the Barclays for having arrived late for his tee time in the pro-am on Wednesday created a good deal of debate on the wisdom of cashiering a star for what would seem a minor offense. Blogger Geoff Shackelford has a roundup here, including Phil Mickelson's vehement opposition to the severity of the punishment.
The point missing from the debate is that the pro-am is sacrosanct, the lifeblood of the PGA Tour. It generates significant revenues and provides sponsors with a means of entertaining clients, and to do so in a meaningful way requires the best players are involved.
"The rule is there for a purpose," said one long time tournament director, Tom Wilson, of the Farmers Insurance Open at Torrey Pines. "There were some players who for some reason or other were not showing up for pro-ams. The only way to make sure they did was to put the rule in place and to make sure the penalty was severe.
"Pro-ams are tremendously important, a huge part of our net revenues, 40 percent. It's very important for sponsors, too, a way for them to entertain guests, top clients, potential clients."
He said Farmers Insurance receives 60 pro-am spots. The previous sponsor, Buick, received 52 spots. The sponsors footing the bill expect a return on their investment, including their top clients playing alongside the best players in the field.
-- John Strege