Editors' BlogNovember 16, 2008

Suggestion box: Golf in the economic storm

Ron Sirak's Golf World story, "Braced for the Storm," and Bob Verdi's column on fixing the FedEx Cup during brutal economic times drew a great deal of comment. Strathroy, Ontario reader Peter Boyce and others suggested that it might be time to re-think the Tour's distribution of wealth. Boyce:

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Maybe, just maybe the purses in worlwide golf are too high. If the cost of sponsorship went down, there would be more sponsors. It is interesting to see that the player (Billy Andrade) who finished 188th on the PGA Tour money list still pocketed $243,00 and 102 players made over a million. It is time to re-think during recession.

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Arizonan Gil Ide had similar ideas and even referenced the Great Redistributor himself:

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Recently, a story about the PGA Tour and how sponsors are maybe running for cover, made me look at the earnings of players on the PGA money list. If my calculator is working, the first 125 players, as of your list on Oct. 17, with the highest earnings were paid a total of $218,600,000. This averages to about $1,750,000 per player. The player who was 125th, poor he, made only about $14,300 per week! Now I know they have expenses but perhaps if they did a little belt tightening like almost everyone else today, they could survive on say an average of $1,000,000 a player, and that would free up $93 million dollars off sponsors' backs. That would go a long way toward sponsors' payroll for their workers. I feel certain players would still earn an average of a million and survive the economy as it is. Should I email this to Mr. Obama?

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Though most of the stories analyzing the tour's position today suggest that Tim Finchem's leadership has left it in sound condition, you each make important points. Even if the tour can afford it, handing out the kind of money it does, in these times, may not sit well with a labor force in which one of ten workers has no job. Though these readers don't suggest it, it might also be a deft and fitting move to increase charity donations during these hard times. Not sure such suggestions sit well with the conservative rank and file of tour players, however--or any corporate body trying to keep its head above water, for that matter.

--Bob Carney

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