I’ve been meaning to comment on this story for awhile now as it was first posted back around the third week of December. As Sports Business Journal first reported, PGA Tour Commissioner Tim Finchem apparently sent a five-minute video to Tour players and their agents back around mid-December asking the players for an increased commitment to play more events in 2009. The objective was to ensure the enhancement of Sponsorship value during this period of economic downturn, giving particular focus to four areas: scheduling, sponsor appreciation, public comments and charitable involvement. “We’re asking every player to add a tournament or two to their historical schedule to assist the tournaments that historically have weak fields,” Finchem said. “We have a lot of title sponsors this year that are up for renewal. We have to put our best foot forward in terms of presenting our competitions (tournaments).”
I really believe that the player’s should step up in what I am sure are difficult times, not only for the PGA Tour but all other sports leagues and associations with professional athletes who rely, in large part on corporate sponsorship and ticket sales, for the money they make. Keep in mind when I offer my next comment that I am speaking largely to the top 104 PGA Tour players who earned over 1 million dollars in official earning in 2008 (it would be impossible to speculate on how much they actually earned in total with corporate outings, shirt and hat logo deals and equipment endorsements). I have no trouble with the best of the best players earning the millions of dollars, what I struggle with is the fact that they do it averaging about 20 events (or weeks) worth of work – how many weeks a year do you work? These players should play in more events particularly to support the sponsors who are paying for their very nice living.
Of the top 125 players, it was interesting to note that while player number 125 on the official PGA Tour money list played in 29 events (Martin Laird who won a little over $850K), the number 8 player on the money list played in only 15 PGA Tour events, the exact minimum to keep their Tour card for 2009 (Padraig Harrington who won a little over $4.3 million dollars).
Time for the best of the best to speak volumes with their appearances at lesser know events (like the RBC Canadian Open) and show the sponsors and fans how much you appreciate their support.
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