Saturday, January 20, 2007

OK, let me see. Twenty-six players won more than one million dollars during the regular PGA Tour season this year. Also, it took close to a quarter of a million in order to stay inside the top 125. That's a pretty long way from even as recently as 10 years ago, when the tail-enders on tour barely made enough to exist, after they had paid their expenses.

Golf is one of corporate America's favorite ways to entertain. Golfers are good role models for our children. When your children are playing golf, they can be gone all day, and you don't have to worry about where they are or what they are up to. It is a good addiction. Could this possibly be one of the reasons that the sport has such a good image?

The question is, would a bunch of militant players who formed a cohesive group (the recently-formed Tour Players Association) in order to impose their will upon the PGA Tour, or sponsors or whomever, be a step in the right direction for a sport which is already doing so many things right? Hands up who think that professional golfers would benefit in the long run from the advantages that some of our other athletes enjoy, like the right to strike, or to sit on the bench all season, scratching their nads, spitting, and still earn the league minimum. Perhaps it would be acceptable to punch, strangle or otherwise molest your coach, and then sue the organization for no apparent reason.

No wonder the photographers are wearing cups.

The reason professional golf is so popular with businessmen whose companies' money fuels the sport is that the businessmen identifies with the player. In golf, the tour pro takes his own money and tries to turn it into more. If he works hard enough, and welcomes the responsibility that hard work inevitably brings, he is successful. If he is content to be an also-ran, there is comfort in mediocrity, at least for a little while. Sooner or later, he will fall out of the select group. Too bad, so sad. It's a tough sport, and that's why it is so appealing. No whining, and please, please, no collective bargaining disputes.

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