News & ToursMarch 27, 2009

On professional golfers and manners

We've heard a lot lately about tour players having been asked by their commissioner to amp up their appreciation for tournament sponsors in this time of economic distress. At the Transitions Championship last week, notes were left in players' lockers reminding them to thank the Transitions CEO.

Earlier this week, Rocco Mediate had this to say about such reminders:

"The fact that we had to even say that makes me nauseous, how's that? It should be known already. I don't care who you are, how young you are, how old you are. We have to tell people how to be to the sponsors who are putting up a bazillion dollars for us to play golf? Think about that for a second. And we've got to train guys to be better with them? It's ridiculous."

Also earlier this week, Tiger Woods went to bat on behalf of his tour brethren, playing host to a group of sponsors or potential sponsors. Dave Shedloski has the story here for golfdigest.com.

It's long forgotten now, but after Woods played his first Masters, as a 19-year-old amateur in 1995, he wrote a letter of thanks to Augusta National hierarchy, albeit probably at the behest of his father, Earl: "Please accept my sincere thanks for providing me the opportunity to experience the most wonderful week of my life," Tiger wrote. He signed it, "with warmest regards and deepest appreciation."

"The letter...smacks ominously of a father instilling values in his son," San Francisco Chronicle columnist Scott Ostler wrote at the time.

What does it say of today's players that their commissioner needs to assume the role of father figure and attempt to instill values that ought to be demonstrated even in the best of economic times, without coercion?

-- John Strege

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