Back 9: Where Is Everyone?Written by Fred Altvater | | BackNine@toledofreepress.com
Aaronimink Country Club in Philadelphia is the site of this week’s AT&T National Tournament sponsored by Tiger Woods. The problem is that the top 14 players in the world decided they have more important things to do. It’s beginning to look a little like a Nationwide event. Bubba Watson is taking his long drives to Paris. Not the Texas one, the one with the Eiffel Tower, the Louvre, and big appearance fees. Others decided it is a good time to work on their tans or take out the trash. Truth be known Tiger has fallen in the eyes of his fellow pros. He has refused to support lesser tournaments around the PGA Tour for some years and has only done what is good for Tiger. Maybe other players are making a statement about that. How quick we forget from where our bread cometh.
Total prize money on the tour in 1996, pre-Tiger, was $70 million. In 2011 the PGA Tour hit $70 million in prize money in the 12th week of the season at Doral. Total regular season prize money on the PGA Tour in 2011 is approximately $237,000,000. That is just a mere 338% increase in 15 years with Mr. Woods on the tour. In addition, the four playoff events will add $32 million to players’ pockets and another $10 million goes to the FedEx Cup winner. Add it all up and you are talking about real money here. Tiger has added a lot of dollars to everyone’s pockets in and around the golf world. The kids on tour might want to consider from whence the butter for their bread has come.
The AT&T is played on great golf courses, pays homage to American military personnel, and has a $6.2 million purse, nothing to sneeze at. Its timing two weeks after the U. S. Open and two weeks prior to the British Open should fit well with scheduling. Where is everybody? There is so much money on the tour these days that a player just barely keeping his card in the top 125 for the year will win close to a cool million not counting sponsor money. They can be more selective where and when they decide to play. The players can only play so much but they better reconsider how they set up their schedules in the future.
Tiger has definitely fallen from grace in the public and has lost his fear factor among the other players. Beware the sleeping Tiger! He will get healthy one of these days and I suspect will return to his winning ways. You know what they say, “It’s not nice to make Mother Nature angry.” The same can be said for El Tigre. DJ, Rickie, Bubba and Rory better enjoy themselves now cause the day of reckoning will come.
You can read more articles by Fred at Back 9 Blog