By Jeff Goodman
Special to ARMCHAIR GOLF
TO HIS CREDIT, PGA Tour Commissioner Tim Finchem has made it clear to the players that they need to “step it up” in this time of economic downturn. Otherwise current sponsors will drop out of sight, thus making it harder to find a replacement sponsor. Most recently, U.S. Bank pulled their sponsorship from its yearly PGA event in Milwaukee (the Greater Milwaukee Open).
Golf columnist Jill Painter’s heart is in the right place, mentioning that PGA Tour professionals need to do more in the promotion of their product as well as for those who provide the medium in which they play (sponsors, TV coverage, fans, etc.).
This argument is nothing new to the PGA Tour or its pundits for there are valid answers to this dilemma:
• Raise the minimum number of tournaments in which a professional must compete (currently at 15 events)
• Mandate that players must play each event every four years (same as LPGA)
• Sign more autographs
• Give more face time to TV and its sponsors
• Mention sponsors by name
• Be more sociable at pro-ams
Even though some professional golfers are cognizant of how dire the economic situation may be, the odds dictate that not every player on Tour will heed Finchem or Painter’s call. After all, some players may have prior engagements or are too busy with their own endorsements and side businesses that their time at specific Tour events gets sacrificed.
As a pundit, I am aware that I know little, if anything, about what a PGA Tour professional goes through on a day-to-day basis.
However, the idealist in me knows that the possession of a PGA Tour card is a privilege and not necessarily a right. Hopefully the pros know this too, for it may keep their purse money from dwindling.
Jeff “Goods” Goodman is a Chicago writer who blogs
about golf at In Between 18.
3 thoughts on “Smile More and Pack Some Extra Underwear”
By their own admission, there is only a whisker of difference between the 100th golfer on the PGA tour and the next 200 golfers on that tour and the Nationwide. Yet the 125th is the fair-haired boy and the 126th is the red-headed stepchild. So….
Bust the players’ union and rewrite the rules as Tim Finchem and the sponsors want them. If the players would prefer to take their skills elsewhere, allow them to do so. You’ll probably only lose the top 4-5 players. (Tiger, Phil, AK, et al) With the 4 majors, the Players, the WGC and other qualifying events, they could still play 12-14 tournaments. Everybody’s happy except those 22 sponsors who NEVER see the top guys.
It’s broke, but you can’t fix it. These guys are worse than the UAW…
I would love to see the big names get to more events too. I wonder though if the tours haven’t in some way created the very situation they are trying to fix now. If they want a world tour then events with less of a profile will sometimes take a back seat to higher profile events around the world. The problem is that Dubai is just more cool then Hawaii these days. With that said I’m glad DC has got Tiger’s tournament. The Kemper/Booze- Allen wasn’t great but at least it was a PGA event.
With sponsors pulling out faster than you could complete the name of the tournament hosted by Justin Timberlake, it is more than obvious that players need to do a lot more to ensure that sponsors stay with the game. If it means a little extra massaging of the sponsor’s ego then so be it. After all, in the era in which we leave it is the sponsor who dictates the terms and I think it does not hurt the players to obey it once in a while. It is for the love of the game and quite honestly, some of these players I can assure you can definitely do something about their social skills. Signing autographs for sure is one sureshot way to garner some support. Fans love it and when they pay the kind of ridiculous gate money that is charged in most of these tournaments they might as well oblige the poor autograph seekers.
I always used to think, mentioning a sponsors name doesn’t really impact the promotion of the product but now I realise it is conveying a sense of gratitude and that is always something that someone who is responsible for deciding whether the money is pumped in or not feels happy to hear. It does not take much, so they might as well do it.