PGA’s not-so-Grand Slam loses only “marquee name”; Bermuda’s future could be in doubt
Earlier this month Bermuda Premier Ewart Brown wondered aloud if Bermuda had a future as the site of the PGA Grand Slam. The event, which used to be a reward for winning one of the four major championships, no longer held the same high profile as in years past.
In an interview with The Royal Gazette, Brown made it clear that Bermuda was putting more than enough money into the event — $1.5 million a year, to be exact — to host the Grand Slam. For that kind of money he didn’t want a couple of one-time major championship winners; he wanted a “marquee name.”
This year’s major championship group was, shall we say, short on “marquee names.” While Martin Kaymer, Louis Oosthuizen and Graeme McDowell were all worthy major winners, they lacked the big name status of Masters winner Phil Mickelson.
The first three quickly accepted the invite to play in the event; Mickelson, on the other hand, decided to keep the PGA waiting. Mickelson’s slow roll routine led to an interesting article in The Royal Gazette.
As the Premier told the paper, he was starting to have second thoughts on the financial benefits of Bermuda hosting an event where the marquee names in the field never showed up: “The PGA is working hard to make sure we have a marquee name for this year’s tournament. I would probably have bet my house that we would have had Tiger [Woods] within the four-years and I would have been wrong.
“We are in talks about next year but we are going to wait and see what happens this year. If we don’t get a good deal this year we will have to renegotiate.”
The wait and see approach ended on Monday, as Mickelson declined the invitation to the event, opting to spend time at home and rest after a grueling season. And just like that, the PGA Grand Slam no longer had a “marquee name.”
Mickelson’s replacement was supposed to be Woods, but he declined the invitation, allowing Ernie Els to take the fourth spot. If you’re keeping track at home, Els hasn’t won a major championship in eight years.
I’d assume Els isn’t the “marquee name” Premier Brown was talking about. Given Bermuda’s lukewarm response to hosting the event in the future, could this be the country’s curtain call?
Unless the PGA and Bermuda come to a financial agreement, there’s a good chance the event could move to another country (or back to the States) or *gasp* disappear into oblivion in the near future.
While I’m sure the PGA would love to continue hosting the event in the country, Premier Brown may not feel the same way.