From the Rough

Golf without discretion

It’s time for Tim Finchem to get serious about the credit crisis

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There’s a great article this morning by Golf World’s Tim Rosaforte on the questions and concerns looming over the PGA Tour right now with regards to the credit crunch. If you follow the game, then you already know what’s going on; for those of you that don’t, here’s a sobering stat from the article:

Seeing how 18 of the tour’s sponsors being car companies or financial institutions, that number is destined to go down. There’s lean and mean, and with two million Americans lining up for a free breakfast at Denny’s, there’s every man for himself. At this point, the tour needs to let Woods play out of a cart, Mickelson have a free pass into the weekend and Norman to win the Masters — and even that wouldn?t save pro golf with type of numbers coming out of Wall Street and Detroit. This is a correction that has 10 to 12 months before a recycle — which puts it in the wheelhouse of the tour’s next renegotiation phase.

The next 10-12 months are going to be the tour’s most critical stretch in, well, probably ever. We are looking at the loss of professional golf if things don’t change in a hurry. And while that seems silly at this current time considering how big the purses are, it doesn’t seem that crazy when you notice that the renegotiation of the tour’s television deal isn’t far away. That deal ultimately makes or breaks golf.

The sponsors for the tournaments can’t fathom spending bailout money on tournaments, and I don’t blame them. Rosaforte mentions a couple of players that were told by their sponsors to take their logo off their shirts because they didn’t want to be seen spending extra money to sponsor a golfer. It really has gotten that bad.

The worst part of all is that Tim Finchem continues to act like nothing is wrong. Does he really believe an emergency fund will make up for all the lost revenue the tour stands to lose if the business and car sectors leave the golfing world? Even the fresh faced kids going to college know the answer to that one.

So what should the tour do to rectify/fix the bleeding in this situation? Rosaforte has a great idea:

In the spirit of a tanking global market and the perception that golf is a game of corporate excess, take $1 million off each purse, and donate it back to the sponsor of that particular event. Then take another 5 percent, and kick it in to all the charities that will be hit hardest, in a gesture of generosity across the board. Do it for one year, as part of a stimulus package, because the PGA Tour could use some stimulation based on the scene at the Buick Invitational this week.

Even guys like Greg Norman agree that this type of a fix could really help the game of golf. And when you have ambassadors of his stature backing such ideas, you really need to stand up and listen.

Golf has a long, scary road ahead, and I for one hope they figure out a gameplan before everything goes to hell in a hand basket.

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Written by Jonathan Wall

02/06/2009 at 5:53 pm

Posted in Credit Crunch, PGA Tour

Tagged with ,

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