Much can be said of appearance fees. Many a tournament have used them as initiative to bring golfers to play in events. Events that top players would otherwise balk at playing in. I have no doubt that appearance fees were used to a much lesser extent through the history of golf. What exactly was $4000 worth in 1932 compared to 2017? This topic is a bit random but what would make me write another editorial about love for the game and appearance fees?
Before I continue I feel that I must state the obvious. Everything is about money for nearly everyone nowadays. Especially for athletes playing professional sports around the world. Whether it’s the NHL, MLB, NFL, NBA or any of the Premier Futbol leagues in Europe it’s business first. After all, all of these athletes have to pay agents for their services and of course their expensive toys. Often I’ve wondered if Wayne Gretzky, Michael Jordan, Derek Jeter, Joe Montana or Pele kept playing their sports professionally out of sheer love for their game? A game in which their parents once paid for them to play in order to participate. Or did they continue playing in order just to keep the fat paychecks rolling in? Of course, they were all inspired to keep playing at least partly due to their competitive desire.
Golf… a game that seems much maligned these days. A game where so much focus has been directed towards “growing the game”. A game where there’s a drive to develop new fans from the younger generation of golfer. Maybe American kids look towards a Rickie (Fowler) Lexi (Thompson) or Jordan (Spieth) to emulate. In some country’s where golf isn’t as prevalent like Bangladesh maybe by going to an event and watching Siddikur Rahman and young boy or girl would want to play golf and who knows maybe find an education through playing the game. In Australia there are a slew of golfers to choose from that may capture the imagination of young golfers to be… maybe it’s Jason Day or Adam Scott.
For any young Australian golfers out there looking to the latter as inspiration to play golf seriously they’ll be disappointed this year. Adam Scott… the sweet swinging Australian decided to withdraw from the Emirates Australian Open this week. Not because of an unbeatable affliction like “CSS” (Chronic Shanks Syndrome) or an injured wrist, back or in-grown toenail. Nope! How about because of his issue with an appearance fee ([ardon me while I sarcastically applaud Adam’s decision). Scott, who in 2015 had an estimated worth of about $40 million skipped out on his National Championship because he didn’t receive enough money in appearance fees! His first time missing the event in a decade. Really Adam? Not enough of an appearance fee? Sure his nose might be out of joint because Spieth was set to make $1 million before striking a golf ball. If Spieth is receiving that kind of money it makes me wonder what the fee was going to be for Scott… a native son? No doubt it was more money than I have seen or will ever see in my bank account. I think that it’s shameful and disgusting that he or anyone would skip a tournament because they never received enough money just to show up.
As I pause my writing and think to myself for a second I wonder even further. If Spieth didn’t get an appearance fee as compensation would he play? We all know that the likes of Tiger, Phil and Rory have received huge appearance fees for showing up at tournaments in the past. Justin Rose and Sergio Garcia have each received an estimated $1.5 million in appearance fees for playing the Hong Kong Open. Combined the fees are worth more than the purse itself (such is the case with Spieth).
Have the appearance fees gotten out of hand? Maybe. But as long as the sponsors are willing to shell it out and the players have coffers to line they’ll gladly collect the fees. I would! But it makes you wonder in retrospect too. If the sponsors weren’t willing to cough up the “dineros” would the golfers be playing in the events? A game that “we” pay to play and through buying equipment from their respective equipment sponsors indirectly help pay their endorsement deals. Golf seems so much like the other professional sports leagues doesn’t it? It’s “us” the fans buying tickets and merchandise that line their wallets and support their families.
For guys and gals out there playing events on the various worldwide professional tours it’s fine for you to withdraw. Nobody with a soul would dispute sitting out an event because of illness, injury, or a family emergency. But sitting out of a tournament because you didn’t receive enough “thanks for being here money”? Quit being such petulent primadona spoiled brats. You truly forget what this game is all about. £ove for the game? #whatever
Until The Next Tee!!