From The Inbox

Spiking ‘commissioner’s Kool-Aid’ with a dash of reality

Alex Miceli has got it all wrong, reader contends, in defending PGA Tour’s need for layoffs amid so much cash, and more to come

Alex Miceli writes, "But what sponsor would want to reduce a purse and potentially damage the depth and quality of the field?" (“PGA Tour takes painful but prudent course,” Aug. 13).

The 2019-20 PGA Tour season began with $375 million in prize money plus another $70 million in FedEx bonus money. Is Miceli saying that if the purses were cut 10 percent, to nearly $340 million, and the bonus pool were reduced to $60 million or so, that it would create a lesser field? That Rory McIlroy wouldn’t play in the Canadian Open because first-place money is $130,000 less than the $1.37 million that he won last year? A $45 million haircut from purses could cover 50 mid-level Tour staffers and health protocols until spectator things get back to normal.

But where Miceli is way off base is defending commissioner Jay Monahan's position on why he had to do these layoffs. Monahan states that the Tour will lose more than $90 million in revenue for the year since March. The same 2017 tax filing that Miceli used to show the $3.9 million commissioner's "foregone" salary (which, according to that tax filing, represents only a part of his total salary), the Tour's total revenue for that fiscal year was $1.47 billion. That $90 million loss of revenue represents less than 7 percent of the total revenue for that year. If you offset that $90 million loss of revenue with the $56 million in operating surplus (using the same 2017 tax filing), the Tour needs to cover only $34 million, or about 2.5 percent of total revenue. A financial officer in a business venture with $1.47 billion in total revenue should be able to carve out 2.5 percent standing on his head, without layoffs.

If the Tour does incur a short-term operating loss by not laying off staff, it could cover those losses from it $2.4 billion-plus in cash and investments. The Tour would need to “hang on” until its new 9-year, $680 million per year TV deal starts in 2022 ... after the current $400 million-per-year contract expires.

I think Miceli is a very capable writer and reporter. I just wish he'd stop drinking the commissioner’s Kool-Aid.

Charlie Jurgonis
Fairfax, Va.

Well done, Miceli
Thank you, Alex Miceli, for your excellent perspective on the cutbacks at the PGA Tour (“PGA Tour takes painful but prudent course,” Aug. 13).

Your questions were insightful. It’s the kind of writing and perspective that makes me search out Morning Read first every morning.

John M. Sullivan
Hull, Mass.
(Sullivan is the strategic account manager for Majesty Golf, a Japan-based manufacturer of golf equipment.)

Support from the heartland for Zach Johnson
Those of us in Iowa enjoy following our native son Zach Johnson on the PGA Tour, even though he doesn’t get as much press as other, flashier players with fewer wins. The fact that he has 12 PGA Tour victories, and that two of those were major championships, only add to the fervor with which we follow him. Granted, it could be said that he’s somewhat past his prime, but so are many of his colleagues on the Tour. This doesn’t diminish our interest, however.

Imagine our disappointment to see that none of the national golfing newsletters have yet covered his recent win of the 2020 Payne Stewart Award. A brief blurb on the TV coverage of the Wyndham Championship, but nothing yet in Morning Read or the other online golf publications which I receive.

Bruce Johnson
Ames, Iowa

Triplett’s patch takes things too far
I was very disappointed to read that Kirk Triplett, a member of the Champions Tour, made the decision to interject politics into the world of professional golf by having “Black Lives Matter” printed on his bag (“Kirk Triplett takes a stand that hits close to home,” Aug. 14).

I do applaud the fact that Triplett and his wife adopted two minority children, providing them with a great home and family environment, and their lives absolutely do matter. However, so do the lives of Triplett’s other two children, as well as the lives of everyone else on this planet. I am also guessing that Triplett did not take the time to read the BLM manifesto before painting it on his bag. He may well have changed his mind.

While golf has been a big part of my life for more than 75 years, I also used to be a fan of the NFL, Major League Baseball and NBA. However, no longer. Once players started taking a knee for our national anthem and began displaying political statements on their jerseys, helmets, shoes, etc., those sports lost my support.

I always have – naively, I guess – believed that somehow, professional golf could remain a safe haven from the politics of the day, allowing fans just to enjoy the sport of golf. I hope Triplett’s actions are not a sign of things to come for the game. I would hate to stop supporting a game that has meant so much to me in my life.

Bill Boutwell
Jacksonville, Fla.

The timeless appeal of Alex Miceli’s ‘dulcet tones’ and ‘handsome visage’
Well, I guess I'm officially old. Increasingly, Morning Read and other golf websites, blogs and rants I receive are videos or podcasts. That's OK; I get it. The young among us – and, I suppose, many a geezer – are fine with it, too. But for me? With the coronavirus, I'm already staring at too many movies and TV shows to watch someone tell me what he or she wrote. And for listening, I prefer Miles Davis.

Actually, I have spent too many years reading actual print. I like the feel of a book or paper in my hands. Yeah, I read now on a tablet, but I don't particularly like it. The ability to listen to Alex Miceli's dulcet tones while gazing upon his handsome visage is insufficient recompense for not being able just to read them and does not really add any gravitas to his thoughts. Ditto for everybody else (“One Take with Alex Miceli”).

So, now I'm just that guy standing on the porch shouting into the wind, lamenting the past. And the state of my game.

Maybe I should have recorded a video of my thoughts, to better express myself.

Blaine Walker
St. Paul, Minn.

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