Maybe this recession is the best thing to happen to golf in a long time. With a glut of golf courses starting to get hungry for customers, perhaps the cost of a round will become more affordable.
For too long, the recreational golfer has been getting gouged by the skyrocketing costs of playing a round. Add in the cost of balls, clubs, shirts and everything else, and you have to take out a second mortgage to play more than once per week. And those in the industry wonder why golf isn’t growing. The answer is obvious.
I’m glad General Motors dropped Tiger and I hope it’s the start of a trend, not just in golf, but all sports. No, that is not a reflection of Tiger, because if anyone deserves good endorsement dollars, it is him. What I don’t like, however, is the fact that any time a golfer, or any other athlete for that matter, signs a huge endorsement deal, it is you and I who pay for it via higher retail prices. Is that lovely golf shirt – possibly created in a sweatshop – really worth the price tag, or is that how you and I get screwed for the big endorsement contracts signed by players?
“We're looking at alternatives," said Dan Croak at the U.S. Bank Championship, after Buick stated that it wouldn’t be supplying courtesy cars at some events. "It's certainly great if tournaments that don't have them come up with a suitable solution. But it becomes someone's expense."
Twenty years ago, it was not unusual for most players to arrive in town and rent their own cars. Joey Sindelar recalls dragging his golf gear through the airport to get a rental car, paying for practice balls on the range and getting concession coupons for meals.
Players now have a car waiting at the airport, and a tournament volunteer drops them off at the airport at the end of the week.
"We've been so lucky out there," Sindelar said. "I hope this is an attention-grabber."
It’s about time this happened. After all, the 125th player on the money list (Martin Laird) earned $852,752 this season playing 29 tournaments. Take off about $80,000-90,000 for travel expenses and you can see why there is no reason why these guys can’t go to the rental counter and pay like the rest of us.
Sweden captured the World Cup of Golf in China on Sunday with a final round 63. While it doesn’t get the hype of the Ryder Cup, nor the Presidents Cup now, this 28 team tournament that has two players per side, is one of the oldest team events – dating back to 1953 when it was known as the Canada Cup.
Names like Jack Nicklaus and Sam Snead are on the trophy, and although it has lost some luster since its inception, it gives viewers a chance to see international golfers from around the world and is not the jingoistic affair that often plagues the Ryder Cup.
The PGA Tour revamped its FedEx Cup race for the third straight year of its existence, and this adjustment is geared toward making sure the winner of the $10-million prize is decided at the Tour Championship.
Tim Finchem said he spoke to the top players and listened to their feedback. I’ve never been a fan of this whole concept, which is little more than the rich getting richer. As the architect of this “house built on sand,” Finchem will never get rid of it, but perhaps he can spice it up by making the last two tournaments match play.
Brian Burke and his ego were announced as the Toronto Maple Leafs new general manager and president on Saturday. Burke, who never met a microphone he didn’t like, rambled on about the kind of team he wants in Toronto and how thrilled he was to be in part of a franchise that hasn’t even been to a Stanley Cup final since 1967.
He said all the right things to the media and many lapped it up like he will save the franchise.
Burke said he'll assemble a team that features two skilled lines on forward and defense, with hard-nosed players filling out the rest of the roster. Goaltending will also be a focal point. Of course, the 29 other teams always aim for the same thing.
Interesting person this Brian Burke. He can be downright belligerent with the media and critical of their role, but when he was let go by Vancouver, he ran to said media for a job.
Until next time...