Seniors Face Disturbing Dilemma
Oh, how professional golf is changing. And the change is felt by the over-50s more so than anywhere else. The youngsters who are coming up routinely rake in $1 million a year. Last year the number who achieved the millionaire mark reached 45, and that number is bound to grow every season. That is not particularly good news for the gents who run the Senior Tour.
Look at the players who will turn 50 in the next few years. Greg Norman. Nick Faldo. Ian Woosnam. Mark OMeara. Bernhard Langer. Hal Sutton. Seve Ballesteros. Nick Price. Fred Couples. All are financially set for life. Unfortunately for the Senior Tour, they dont need the dough. They might play a tournament here and there, but you can forget them playing 25-to-30.
Those days are long gone. It was customary for Miller Barber or Don January or Chi Chi Rodriguez or Lee Trevino to put in those kinds of weeks playing with the Seniors. Those guys could use the money. They played their golf before the boom hit, and the winners checks did make a difference.
But Greg Norman? Nick Price? They may play here and there, but they are far too comfortable to worry about where their next jet is coming from.
The guys who won the tournaments of the 90s are in the same situation. They are rich already. They may get out to play a little social golf, but tournament play will no longer be their occupation when they reach 50. They wont have an occupation ' or need one.
This change actually began a decade ago, about the time Jack Nicklaus reached the magic age. He was the first to play less than 10 a year. Then came Tom Weiskopf. The last couple of years brought Tom Watson. Now the big money on the regular tour is really big.
The point being, the multi-millionaires are not going to play much on the Senior Tour. I didnt really believe it until I saw Watson. Norman has said over and over that he doesnt plan to play much. But why should they? A million dollars just doesnt mean what it used to. No, not when youve got 20 of them.
I know, I know, the top names have been saying that for years. And when it came time to blow out 50 candles, they couldnt resist the siren call of dollar bills. But its different now. The pension plan, for one thing, ensures that no one goes without their Porsche having plenty fuel. Thats if the money they have socked away should run below five mil or so.
Meanwhile, the Mike McCulloughs, the Allen Doyles and Dana Quigleys are going to rule more and more. Somewhere, theres a 47-year-old club pro whos practicing every day now whos going to whomp the daylights out of Ben Crenshaw. There are plenty of guys who can play this game, guys who didnt have a chance to belly up to the money trough when they were younger. Bens won a couple of majors, 19 over-all. He has a lovely wife and a couple of daughters. Meanwhile, this anonymous chap has no children running around the family foyer and he has yet to make $100,000 in a year. Who do you think is going to put in more time getting ready for this second swipe at the money jar?
A lot of the guys have eased up considerably as they approach 50. Bad move, particularly if they have Senior Tour designs. Rodriguez was lamenting just last week the Tours decision this year to make the courses tougher and longer. No longer can you come out, smile and wave and sign autographs and collect your checks. Add another big plus to the side of Mr. Anonymous. He will be ready for the 6,900-yard courses. Some of the guys in the final years of the regular tour are getting short-short-shorter.
That, of course, assumes the status quo, and the status quo of the Senior Tour isnt real bright at the moment. You need to pipe in the light to find the television numbers, now that the Senior Tour brass has decided to tape events and show them for an 8 oclock end. And the lack of real star-power is worrisome, particularly when the stars already have it all and just dont need another golf tournament to nail down a couple hundred thousand.
The next four years look bleak indeed. Mac OGrady turned 50 this week, but hes a walking MASH refugee. Same with Mark McCumber and Fuzzy Zoeller, who also turn 50 this year. Bruce Lietzke might change the landscape a little, but he doesnt play more than 15 a year.
Next year? Crenshaw turns 50, but it appears he has better things to do. In 2003 theres Craig Stadler and Jay Haas. In 2004 you have Peter Jacobsen, who has had a laundry list of injuries. A lot of other guys are going to join them. Undoubtedly some will make it big, a Doug Tewell or Bruce Fleisher, but there will be no one to carry the Tour like an Arnold Palmer or Trevino or a Rodriguez.
The landscape the next 10 years or so looks a little bleak. A decision must be made how many tournaments will survive, and what the main emphasis will be as far as players are concerned. Does the Tour want names? Or do they want players? Who will shape the future of the senior game? Tewell, McCullough, Fleisher and Doyle are unquestionably great guys, but they cant sustain enough interest to keep the Tour healthy.
Norman, Langer, Faldo, Price et al could, but they just arent interested. Is there an answer?
What do you think of the future of the Senior PGA Tour?
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Day's wife shares emotional story of miscarriage
Jason Day’s wife revealed on social media that the couple had a miscarriage last month.
Ellie Day, who announced her pregnancy on Nov. 4, posted an emotional note on Instagram that she lost the baby on Thanksgiving.
Swipe to see what’s up in my world. It’s long-winded.... short version, we lost the baby. Had to share this since we had shared the news already. I know you’re all so supportive and kind. I just couldn’t face it before. Now let’s get back to our regularly scheduled programming. #ihavealotoffeelings #andphotostocatchupon
“I found out the baby had no heartbeat anymore. I was devastated,” she wrote. “I snuck out the back door of my doctor, a hot, sobbing, mascara-covered mess. Two and a half weeks went by witih me battling my heart and brain about what was happening in my body, wondering why this wouldn’t just be over.”
The Days, who have two children, Dash and Lucy, decided to go public to help others who have suffered similar heartbreak.
“I hope you know you aren’t alone and I hope you feel God wrap his arms around you when you feel the depths of sorrow and loss,” she wrote.
Newsmaker of the Year: No. 5, Sergio Garcia
This was the year it finally happened for Sergio Garcia.
The one-time teen phenom, known for years as “El Nino,” entered the Masters as he had dozens of majors beforehand – shouldered with the burden of being the best player without a major.
Garcia was 0-for-72 driving down Magnolia Lane in April, but after a thrilling final round and sudden-death victory over Justin Rose, the Spaniard at long last captured his elusive first major title.
The expectation for years was that Garcia might land his white whale on a British links course, or perhaps at a U.S. Open where his elite ball-striking might shine. Instead it was on the storied back nine at Augusta National that he came alive, chasing down Rose thanks in part to a memorable approach on No. 15 that hit the pin and led to an eagle.
A green jacket was only the start of a transformative year for Garcia, 37, who heaped credit for his win on his then-fiancee, Angela Akins. The two were married in July, and months later the couple announced that they were expecting their first child to arrive just ahead of Garcia’s return to Augusta, where he'll host his first champions’ dinner.
And while players often cling to the notion that a major win won’t intrinsically change them, there was a noticeable difference in Garcia over the summer months. The weight of expectation, conscious or otherwise, seemed to lift almost instantly. Like other recent Masters champs, he took the green jacket on a worldwide tour, with stops at Wimbledon and a soccer match between Real Madrid and Barcelona.
The player who burst onto the scene as a baby-faced upstart is now a grizzled veteran with nearly two decades of pro golf behind him. While the changes this year occurred both on and off the course, 2017 will always be remembered as the year when Garcia finally, improbably, earned the title of major champion.
Green jacket tour
Man of the people
Ace at 17th at Sawgrass
Departure from TaylorMade
Squashed beef with Paddy
Victory at Valderrama
Newsmakers of the Year: Top 10 in 2017
GolfChannel.com is counting down the top 10 Newsmakers of the Year as voted on by Golf Channel’s writers, editors, reporters and producers. Check out the list below, including future release dates:
No. 4: Dec. 13
No. 3: Dec. 14
No. 2: Dec. 15
No. 1: Dec. 18
Montana parents can't watch kids play high school golf
Well, this is a one new one.
According to a report from KTVQ in Montana, this line in the Montana State High School Association rule book all but forbids spectators from observing high school golf in that state:
“No spectators/fans are allowed on the course except for certain locations as designated by the tournament manager and club professional.”
Part of the issue, according to the report, is that most courses don't bother to designate those "certain locations" leaving parents unable to watch their kids compete.
“If you tell a parent that they can’t watch their kid play in the Thanksgiving Day football game, they would riot,” Chris Kelley, a high school golf parent, told KTVQ.
The report lists illegal outside coaching as one of the rule's chief motivations, but Montana State women's golf coach Brittany Basye doesn't quite buy that.
“I can go to a softball game and I can sit right behind the pitcher. I can make hand signals,” she is quoted in the report. “I can yell out names. I can do the same thing on a softball field that might affect that kid. Football games we can yell as loud as we want when someone is making a pass or a catch.”
The MHSA has argued that unlike other sports that are played in a confined area, the sprawling nature of a golf course would make it difficult to hire enough marshals to keep unruly spectators in check.
Meanwhile, there's a lawyer quoted in the report claiming this is some kind of civil rights issue.
Worth note, Montana is one of only two states that doesn't allow spectators on the course. The other state, Alaska, does not offer high school golf.