Years later, it still seems wrong
Good article by Mike Purkey on sponsorship fees, but it didn't go far enough (“Golf’s dirty little secret might not be so filthy,” Feb. 13, http://bit.ly/2EoyCVt).
Purkey indicates in the article that no one has stated publicly what the return on investment might be. There are several companies that measure these types of sponsorships. Maybe a good follow-up would be to interview a few of these companies.
As a side note, in the early years of the Memorial Tournament each pro who missed the cut received a small amount to help pay expenses for the week. It wasn't much and wouldn't cover their total expenses for the week. The PGA Tour told us that we had to stop because they considered this to be appearance money. It didn't seem right at the time, and still doesn't today.
(Wisler worked for the Memorial Tournament for 25 years and left in 2001 as executive director.)
Appearance money can be incentive
If you want to denounce “golf’s dirty little secret,” let's uncover all the other products/services that are modified to increase sales and therefore return on investment.
Any product's design, packaging, positioning, etc., is tweaked to improve the chances for better sales. Look at how grocery stores are laid out and stock shelves; look at packaging for many products, etc.
For a tournament to improve its ticket sales, the tournament has the right to spend additional marketing dollars how it wishes. If the spending pays off, the practice will continue. If the spending does not, it will stop.
This is not a “dirty little secret,” because all products do it in one way or another. Plain and simple: Golf is a business.
Other sports pay athletes regardless of whether they win, lose or even play. Golf is different, thankfully, but paying an appearance fee is far better than other alternatives. It actually encourages golfers to strive to be top-tier players: reach a higher level and get extra benefits.
Give RBC credit for its role in golf
Royal Bank of Canada stepped up when no one else would and saved the Heritage PGA Tour event in 2012 and has sponsored the Canadian Open Golf Canada event for years (the second-oldest stop on the PGA Tour and the third-oldest national championship in the world), and both tournaments generate millions of dollars for local charities.
RBC supports the developmental programming of Golf Canada, its amateur championships and high-performance national team.
RBC sponsors 15 male and female professional golfers: six Canadians and nine from the rest of the world.
RBC’s dedication to the game is above and beyond reproach and should be commended as such.
An enjoyable walk
When has quitting the game ever led to an improvement? (“From the Morning Read inbox,” Feb. 13, http://bit.ly/2sqZzWZ).
The idea of quitting is crazy. I have played fast ever since I picked up a club, starting on a muni where fast played is expected. Now I play mostly at a private course but still play fast.
You don’t have to be a great player to enjoy the game.
I walked the Old Course a few years ago with my wife, sister-in-law and my nephew, with caddies, in less than 3:20. Maybe we should get out of the carts and walk like the Brits and pick up the pace of play.
There’s no need to clean the ball after every putt, and stop plumb bobbing when you are putting for an 8.
Stephen A. Durham
Add some urgency to the game
It is strange that almost every other major professional sport has a shot clock or time limitations for a play or shot to occur.
Football quarterbacks have to call a play, read the defense and execute in less than 35 seconds. Pro basketball has a shot clock. All of these players make millions of dollars, too.
It is not unreasonable to expect professional golfers to be able to make a decision and execute the shot in 45 seconds or less. Nobody is guarding them or blocking them, and they have a caddie giving them yardage and wind direction.
It’s really getting out of hand.
One final Vent
I hate to be rushed. It invariably makes me hit a bad shot. Before the mob with the pitchforks arrives, let me say clearly: I am not trying to support slow play – in fact, just the opposite.
I think I speak for many players when I say that when we are stuck in a “slow play” day, we get into the pattern of waiting, waiting, waiting and then rushing our shot. Then, after a moment of fuming over a poor shot, the pattern repeats.
Most golfers who have played for any length of time probably have found that when you get into a nice, comfortable, brisk pace of play, golf becomes easier. On the other hand, on days when it’s stop and go, the game can become almost impossible.
I honestly believe that if slower players were to simply apply themselves to playing faster, they would probably see their game improve as well as their enjoyment level increase. The unfortunate problem with that is that many people have a knee-jerk negative reaction to anyone telling them to do anything differently than exactly the way they want to do it.
Oh, well. Hope springs eternal.
La Quinta, Calif.
Morning Read invites reader comment. Write to editor Steve Harmon at firstname.lastname@example.org. Please provide your name and city of residence. If your comment is selected for publication, Morning Read will contact you to verify the authenticity of the email and confirm your identity. We will not publish your email address. We reserve the right to edit for clarity and brevity.