posted on Mar, 25 2005 @ 02:15 PM
With the weekend approaching and basketball games on the menu, I will necessarily be assaulted with CBS promos for the Masters - a tradition unlike
The Masters must have taken its name from the fact that the organizers intended to use this slogan from the beginning thereby making them The Masters
of the Obvious. Every tradition is unlike every other tradition - - or the traditions in question would be the same thing. Only an idiot would think
that the tradition of The Masters would be the same as the tradition of the Kentucky Derby. Their slogan is silly; imagine if I said, "Hippopotami,
animals unlike any other." Your response to something like that ought to be, "And your point would be what?..." Nevertheless, thinking about The
Masters got me to thinking about some of the silliness that has been ongoing in the world of golf. I haven't mentioned golf very much recently; but
rest assured, the golf goofs are alive and well.
I read a report somewhere - I don't recall where so I can't give you the proper citation here - about a conspiracy of Oliver Stone proportion that
just may be afoot in the golf world. The "reasoning" goes like this. The PGA television contracts are up for renewal. At the moment, the TV deal
brought in just under $900M since it went into effect - on the order of $220M per year. Golf was a huge TV success when this contract was being
negotiated because Tiger Woods was in the process of completing his "Tiger Slam". Golf ratings at the moment are not as high as they were then but
they consistently spike whenever Tiger Woods is well positioned on the leader board – particularly in majors. So, the conspiracy theory has it that
Tiger Woods is being given a pass by the PGA and is using "souped up equipment" to be sure that he is on TV and competing for tournament championships
more than once in a while this year. And the conspirators are convinced that he will win The Masters and at least one more major this year to goose up
the ratings and the TV revenues. Next year, his equipment will be given the same scrutiny as everyone else's, but by then, the deal will have gone
Do I believe that stuff? Absolutely not! Here's the reason. I do not doubt for a moment that the people who run the PGA are venal and addicted to the
revenues generated by their game. And I don't think they are the brightest lights in the firmament either. But if they were involved in any kind of
conspiracy like this, they would be risking the entirety of the public's fascination with the game. If there were even a glimmer of a chance that a
golf tournament had been "fixed" or "set up" in any way, the backlash would be devastating. So, much as I think that the golf goofs are exactly that -
goofs - I can't believe they could be that moronic.
The PGA folks have banned "appearance fees" for their events in the past. In foreign venues, appearance fees are commonplace. IMG represents lots of
golfers - they even put on some of the made-for-TV pseudo-golf events - and IMG would like to get their clients appearance fees for US events. IMG
told the PGA that if their clients would be paid for showing up on Monday or Tuesday to play in the sponsor golf outings that are associated with many
of the tournaments, then their clients would be more disposed to hang around and play in that tournament. That is not exactly an "appearance fee" but
it comes very close to it. That's not exactly extortion either, but it smells like it. The PGA needs to resist this kind of thing; and if it needs a
model for how a sport can be ruined by the prevalence of appearance fees, all it has to do is look at tennis.
But don't get me wrong, I love sports...
Copyright The Sports Curmudgeon