Column: A lot cash in golf makes it onerous to disregard

ATLANTA (AP) — Tiger Woods was the richest man in golf and performed like he didn’t have two nickels to rub collectively. That’s one among many traits that made him so incomparable.

Simply don’t get the thought he wasn’t in it for the cash.

Woods gained 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 pc display screen 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 examine.

Then there was 2002 in Eire at a World Golf Championship, which provided $1 million to the winner (again when $1 million meant one thing). Woods opened with a 65 and was requested if he would relatively win that week or the next week on the Ryder Cup.

“Right here this week,” he stated. When requested why, Woods smiled and stated, “I can consider one million the reason why.” The room erupted in laughter.

That looks like 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 cause they turned professional.

Cash. And it guidelines the sport greater than ever.

Golf has by no means been in a higher state of chaos and disruption, all due to cash.

Even because the PGA Tour ended a season with performances price celebrating, it was onerous to get away from the subject of cash —elevated 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 part of Saudi-funded LIV Golf are usually not on meals stamps.

Xander Schauffele hauled in almost $15 million this season, together with his $6.5 million FedEx Cup bonus, with out successful a match. 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’s why it was so curious the ultimate three weeks of the season to listen to so many feedback that it’s not concerning the cash. They had been honest, and at instances credible.

British Open champion Brian Harman was requested if $20 million purses alone would have been sufficient to carry the most effective gamers collectively, as an alternative of restricted fields and referring to them as “signature occasions.” He doesn’t suppose so.

“As a result of as a lot as cash has been the subject of the dialogue, a whole lot of guys out right here — particularly the fellows that play to win — even after they win they couldn’t let you know inside a margin of error how a lot they gained that week,” Harman stated.

The subsequent day, Jon Rahm walked by and was requested what he was paid for successful the Masters.

“Zero clue,” he stated.

Rahm surpassed $50 million in profession earnings this summer season. He has a whole lot of Tiger in him.

“It’s one among my pet peeves after they make this match all about cash as a result of I believe it takes away from it,” Rahm stated on the FedEx Cup finale.

It’s clear there’s a lot cash in golf that motivation comes extra from successful majors, successful a FedEx Cup, successful something.

However it’s cash that bought 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 gorgeous turnaround.

Now his time is occupied on finalizing an settlement that may pour Saudi cash — as much as $1 billion, in response to Senate testimony in July — right into a for-profit firm referred to as PGA Tour Enterprises. There’s a process power to determine the right way to get the gamers more cash.

All of the whereas, Rahm gained a inexperienced jacket and Harman drank Guinness out of a century-old claret jug. Nick Taylor gained 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 word — Hovland enjoying the ultimate two tournaments at Olympia Fields and East Lake in 36-under par and cashing in. Along with his $18 million bonus, he made greater than $32 million this yr.

As nice as he was on the course, Hovland was even higher in explaining why cash issues and when it doesn’t.

“Clearly it’s a whole lot of money you’re enjoying for. It’s behind your thoughts,” he stated. “However I dwell in Stillwater, Oklahoma. Cash goes a protracted methods there. It’s not like I’m spending cash out the wazoo each week. I don’t want quite a bit to be completely satisfied. I don’t want quite a bit to dwell inside my means.”

It’s not why he performs. It’s a reward, not motivation, and that’s how nice ones suppose. Simply don’t anticipate everybody else to disregard cash when that appears to be the answer to golf’s issues.


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