The Top Tour Golfers Are Spoiled Rotten.

The Mercedes Tournament for all tour winners of last season is on in Hawaii this week. The total money is over $5 million and the winner gets something like $1.3 million. You get $100,000 merely for showing up. A half dozen of the top players aren’t playing.

You’ve got to have way too much money if you won’t bother to stoop over and pick up a hundred grand that is laying in the street.

I guess it’s just “walking around money.”

Tiger Woods just bought a house in Florida for $50+ million in a neighborhood where he is not even being considered for membership to the local country club, and he thought so much of his new house that he is reportedly going to have the main house torn down and rebuilt.

Spoiled rotten? It’s your call. I think it’s more like they have earned more money than they know what to do with. Good on them.

An army pal of mine lives in Palos Verdes Estates. He’s moderately well off but further up the hill from him are the really rich. There are houses that look like hotels on lots so small that your neighbor almost has to close his door before you can open yours. Quite often people will pay several million for a property in order to tear down the house that’s on it and rebuild.

Sure, they have earned their wealth and good for them

But they are still spoiled.

Would you fly away to a nice place, but one you’ve visited several times before, and spend time away from home and your family for $100? Why not? It’s free money, yours just for showing up.

Someone who’s living on the street might call you spoiled if you wouldn’t go and they’d be just as wrong as you calling the pro golfers spoiled for not playing in this tournament. It’s just perspective.

Yeah, a spoiled perspecitve. Many people go places at inconvenient times and spend time away from their family in doing their jobs.

Going to a golf tournament for them is like going across the street for me and if I couldn’t be bothered to cross the street for $100 saying I was spoiled wouldn’t be out of line.

Don’t get me wrong, I admire professional golfers. They have enormous talent and they are independent contractors who have to do it all alone (except when the caddy fouls up ;)) . However, the ones who are on top are spoiled.

I would also like to add that these guys are in the entertainment business. The big money for them and everyone else on the tour comes from TV advertisers and the top players are the show.

How about Nathan Lane, or Matthew Broderick, or Helen Hayes, or Ethel Barrymore deciding not to show up when they are the lead in a hit show? “After all, I’ve done this damned show a couple of hundred times and I’m entitled.” So what if its unfair to the show’s backers, the other actors, the audience and everyone else who is depending on them?

Maybe they’re spoiled, or maybe they have something else going on. They’re independent contractors, so they’re under no obligation to show up if invited. There is a general feeling, I would think, that showing up for high-profile events is good for the Tour in general, and thus benefits all players, but they might have something else going on. Another tournament with more money involved, or that they enjoy more and feel some degree of allegiance to, or family commitments… without knowing why they’re not showing up, it’s hard for me to condemn them as spoiled.

Sure, they’re rich, but in general they have worked hard and continue to work hard for the money. They happen to be lucky enough to possess the talent and have had the opportunity to make it into a career, and for that career to be one that is immensely profitable to everyone involved. Golf tournaments pay out huge amounts of money as prizes, but they are still profitable for the sponsors and hosts.

For the top golfers the opportunity costs (to them) associated with attending a tournament might be considerable. 100K is (truly) the chumpiest of chump change to someone like Tiger Woods, it barely qualifies as “walking around money” I imagine Tiger Woods can easily get 100-200K just for giving the intro speech at a corporate function. If I can make 200K in an afternoon why mount up and travel several thousand miles?

I cannot dispute that golfers are spoiled, but geez – I don’t think they’re spoiled because they don’t want to go to a small invitational tournament in Hawaii, half a world away from their homes.

From what I understand, Phil Mickelson skipped the tourney because he wanted to spend time with his family. Now, assuming that really is his reason, I think someone is to be commended if they value a week with their family more than a shot at winning $1.7 million. Phil surely knows that he’s going to win something like $5 million on tour this year. Is it really such a problem if he chooses not to try to win $7 million? It seems that the alternative to being spoiled might being greedy.

I hear that Goosen is spending his time at home in South Africa. I can’t say I blame someone for not wanting to fly 15,000 miles to play in a tournament if they don’t want to.

I hear Tiger is complaining about the fact that the PGA has no offseason. Does that make him spoiled? The PGA has something like 48 events this year. Need top golfers show up at every one lest they be condemned as spoiled?

A good golfer can easily clear my annual salary in one event, no doubt. But even in my job, I’m at the point where I would value a few more vacation days over an increase in salary. I cannot condemn a professional golfer from reaching the same conclusion.

No matter how much money someone makes, flying across the world to spend a week living in a hotel room away from your family can not be compared to crossing the street. They are still people with families and homes, not public assets that have lost the right to determine when and where they work.

Sorry, this dog won’t hunt.

Sure, I’m laying it on a little thick, but they are all volunteers. No one forced them into professional golf with its routine of constant travel. So I’m sorry, your sob story on their account goes right past me.

It’s not a sob story, it’s pointing out that your analogy is inaccurate. Spending time traveling and away from your family is more than crossing the street. As noted above, there are perfectly valid reasons why someone would opt out of this entirely-optional event.

The top tour golfers may or may not be spoiled rotten, but failure to show up for a silly season event is not evidence in favor.

Actually, the Mercedes is the first regular tournament of the 2006 season. Only those who won a tour event last season are eligible and the intent is to showcase the leading players and get the tour season off to a rousing start.

As to Tiger complaining that the PGA Tour has no off season, he is hardly overworked. He played in 21 events in 2005 as did Phil Mikelson. VJ Singh is considered a hard worker with 30. And, by the way, Singh was at the Mercedes.

Yes, professional golf is a tough business. The margin for error is incredibly small and the stroke average for a guy making $200,000 in a season isn’t very much higher than a guy making 10 million. However, lot’s of people work hard and the top golfers are well compensated for all their trouble. It doesn’t seem too much to ask that players show up to get the season started well and to keep the sponsors happy so the bucks will continue to roll in.

I actually favor the top guys taking some time off in the fall after all of the important events are done. Gives the lower ranking players a chance to make some money and maybe assure their tour card for next year.

But the opening event of the new season that is specifically designed to show off last year’s winners? No way.