ATLANTA — Tiger Woods was the richest man in golf and performed like he did not have two nickels to rub collectively. That is considered one of many traits that made him so incomparable.
Simply do not get the concept he wasn’t in it for the cash.
Woods received the primary of his 82 titles on the PGA Tour in 1996 on the Las Vegas Invitational. He walked into the press room and glanced on the laptop display of an Related Press author, who turned and requested him, “Prefer it?”
“I like this,” Woods replied, pointing to the reporter’s reference of his $297,000 winner’s verify.
Then there was 2002 in Eire at a World Golf Championship, which supplied $1 million to the winner (again when $1 million meant one thing). Woods opened with a 65 and was requested if he would reasonably win that week or the next week on the Ryder Cup.
“Right here this week,” he mentioned. When requested why, Woods smiled and mentioned, “I can consider one million explanation why.” The room erupted in laughter.
That looks as if chump change now. Cash won’t ever be a part of the legacy Woods leaves behind. However the more cash there’s in golf, the better it’s for gamers to overlook the very purpose they turned professional.
Cash. And it guidelines the sport greater than ever.
Golf has by no means been in a larger state of chaos and disruption, all due to cash.
Even because the PGA Tour ended a season with performances value celebrating, it was onerous to get away from the subject of cash –increased prize funds, offers to cease paying authorized charges, potential Saudi investments and inevitably more cash for gamers.
Let’s be clear: Gamers who selected to not be a part of Saudi-funded LIV Golf will not be on meals stamps.
Xander Schauffele hauled in practically $15 million this season, together with his $6.5 million FedEx Cup bonus, with out successful a event. Scottie Scheffler simply completed his fourth season on the PGA Tour and he already has exceeded $50 million in earnings, together with his FedEx Cup bonuses.
That is why it was so curious the ultimate three weeks of the season to listen to so many feedback that it isn’t in regards to the cash. They have been honest, and at instances credible.
British Open champion Brian Harman was requested if $20 million purses alone would have been sufficient to convey one of the best gamers collectively, as an alternative of restricted fields and referring to them as “signature occasions.” He mentioned he does not suppose so.
“As a result of as a lot as cash has been the subject of the dialogue, plenty of guys out right here — particularly the fellows that play to win — even once they win they could not let you know inside a margin of error how a lot they received that week,” Harman mentioned.
The following day, Jon Rahm walked by and was requested what he was paid for successful the Masters.
“Zero clue,” he mentioned.
Rahm surpassed $50 million in profession earnings this summer time. He has plenty of Tiger in him.
“It is considered one of my pet peeves once they make this event all about cash as a result of I believe it takes away from it,” Rahm mentioned on the FedEx Cup finale.
It is clear there’s a lot cash in golf that motivation comes extra from successful majors, successful a FedEx Cup, successful something.
Nevertheless it’s cash that obtained golf into the mess with the proposed partnership with the Saudi backers of LIV Golf. The subject by no means goes away.
The most recent reminder was on the 18th inexperienced at East Lake when Commissioner Jay Monahan launched Viktor Hovland because the FedEx Cup champion. There was a smattering of boos and moans — nowhere close to what Commissioner Roger Goodell will get on stage on the NFL Draft, however a primary for Monahan.
He went from criticizing Saudi cash to embracing it. This was his first actually public look since that beautiful turnaround.
Now his time is occupied on finalizing an settlement that can pour Saudi cash — as much as $1 billion, in line with Senate testimony in July — right into a for-profit firm referred to as PGA Tour Enterprises. There’s a activity drive to determine how you can get the gamers more cash.
All of the whereas, Rahm received a inexperienced jacket and Harman drank Guinness out of a century-old claret jug. Nick Taylor received the Canadian Open with a putt heard throughout the Nice White North. Rickie Fowler, Justin Rose and Jason Day ended lengthy droughts.
The season ended on a excessive notice — Hovland taking part in the ultimate two tournaments at Olympia Fields and East Lake in 36-under par and cashing in. Together with his $18 million bonus, he made greater than $32 million this 12 months.
As nice as he was on the course, Hovland was even higher in explaining why cash issues and when it does not.
“Clearly it is plenty of money you are taking part in for. It is behind your thoughts,” he mentioned. “However I reside in Stillwater, Oklahoma. Cash goes an extended methods there. It isn’t like I am spending cash out the wazoo each week. I do not want quite a bit to be blissful. I do not want quite a bit to reside inside my means.”
It isn’t why he performs. It is a reward, not motivation, and that is how nice ones suppose. Simply do not anticipate everybody else to disregard cash when that appears to be the answer to golf’s issues.