By Jeff Goodman
Special to ARMCHAIR GOLF
TO HIS CREDIT, PGA Tour Commissioner Tim Finchem has made it clear to the players that they need to “step it up” in this time of economic downturn. Otherwise current sponsors will drop out of sight, thus making it harder to find a replacement sponsor. Most recently, U.S. Bank pulled their sponsorship from its yearly PGA event in Milwaukee (the Greater Milwaukee Open).
Golf columnist Jill Painter’s heart is in the right place, mentioning that PGA Tour professionals need to do more in the promotion of their product as well as for those who provide the medium in which they play (sponsors, TV coverage, fans, etc.).
This argument is nothing new to the PGA Tour or its pundits for there are valid answers to this dilemma:
• Raise the minimum number of tournaments in which a professional must compete (currently at 15 events)
• Mandate that players must play each event every four years (same as LPGA)
• Sign more autographs
• Give more face time to TV and its sponsors
• Mention sponsors by name
• Be more sociable at pro-ams
Even though some professional golfers are cognizant of how dire the economic situation may be, the odds dictate that not every player on Tour will heed Finchem or Painter’s call. After all, some players may have prior engagements or are too busy with their own endorsements and side businesses that their time at specific Tour events gets sacrificed.
As a pundit, I am aware that I know little, if anything, about what a PGA Tour professional goes through on a day-to-day basis.
However, the idealist in me knows that the possession of a PGA Tour card is a privilege and not necessarily a right. Hopefully the pros know this too, for it may keep their purse money from dwindling.
Jeff “Goods” Goodman is a Chicago writer who blogs
about golf at In Between 18.