FACING THE REALITIES of the economic crisis head on, the PGA Tour is considering and implementing a number of belt-tightening moves for the 2009 season. A tour insider, speaking on the condition of anonymity, previewed several things the tour and players are doing.
Those giant winner’s checks and ostentatious trophies are out. The tour has new partners that will be supplying such things as trophies, hospitality supplies and courtesy cars (at right).
“Look, it’s about winning out here, not the ornamentation,” said the tour insider. “I think the players would agree.”
There is one new measure that’s highly unpopular with the players, he confessed.
“We anticipated the uproar over the use of mats,” he said. “But the majority of events will still have grass tees, with mats confined to the practice area.”
Despite a potential sponsorship crisis, new tournaments will be added to replace events falling off the PGA Tour schedule.
“The PGA Tour will now be in communities such as Muncie, Dodge City and Fairbanks,” he remarked. “The players are excited about the new venues.”
Players are getting into the savings act. Rory Sabbatini, for instance, has updated his belt buckle collection (example at right). And many players have said they plan to use family members as caddies or tote their own clubs to save on caddie fees.
Even the richest tour pros are attempting to cut expenses. Some of the top-tier players are considering plane pooling, although negotiations reportedly broke off in one instance when a player wanted to collect a baggage surcharge fee.
The cost-saving moves can have unintended consequences, though. One unnamed player was penalized when he failed to find his ball mark during a recent tournament.
“Pennies tend to blend into the putting surfaces,” he explained.
“I made the ball mark switch when I started throwing all my nickels, dimes and quarters into a change jar to supplement my retirement.”
−The Armchair Golfer
(This is an ARMCHAIR GOLF spoof.)
(Additional Flickr photo credits: Biblicone, Vandys, Tofutti Break.)