Euro Tour officials hampered by UK tax rules

By Associated PressAugust 10, 2010, 7:10 pm

LONDON – European Tour officials are in talks with the British government to change tax rules which could deter leading golfers from playing in the Ryder Cup in October.

“These tax rules are discouraging leading sportsmen and sportswomen from competition in Britain,” Mitchell Platts, the tour’s director of public relations corporate affairs, said Tuesday.

Players competing in the match between Europe and the United States at Celtic Manor, Wales, could be seriously affected by recent rules issued by the customs and revenue agency, known as HMRC.

The agency can now tax foreign sportsmen and women not just on prize money earned but on sponsorship and endorsements connected to performances in Britain.

Jamaican sprinter Usain Bolt is among the sportsmen who have opted against competing in certain British events because of the rules implemented after HMRC won a landmark case four years ago against American tennis player Andre Agassi. Endorsement payments subsequently were liable for tax.

Non-British players competing in the Ryder Cup – from other European companies and the U.S. – would be harder hit since they receive no prize money from the event, and with just two months left before the match, the European Tour said it was concerned.

“Our aim is to attract the best players to provide the best entertainment for our audiences in the U.K. This tax rule is seriously hampering our efforts,” Platts said. “Discussions continue to take place with the HMRC and these discussions include the Ryder Cup.”

The Ryder Cup could yet be made exempt from the new rules, as the Olympic Games are. Next year’s Champions League final at Wembley was also accorded similar status in March but only after the stadium had lost out on a bid to host last season’s final because of tax issues.

Bolt, the Olympic and world champion in the 100 and 200 meters, said he would not be competing at the Crystal Palace meet this weekend because of the tax rules, which also are known to limit Spanish golfer Sergio Garcia’s appearances in Britain.

Agassi was ordered in 2006 to pay tax on a portion of cash paid to him by Nike and Head because he endorsed their products at Wimbledon and other events in Britain.

In the wake of that case, HMRC is now able to claim tax on a proportion of a sportsperson’s worldwide endorsements earnings. So if 50 percent of an athlete’s events are in Britain, 50 percent of their global endorsement earnings can be taxed.

Britain’s Lawn Tennis Association also expressed concern, saying the rules “`may act as a disincentive for world class – and emerging world class – sportsmen and women coming to compete here.”

HMRC defended the rules, saying the U.S., Australia and South Africa operate similar systems and that foreign residents in more than 100 countries can claim tax relief under double taxation agreements.

“It is only right that where someone comes to work in the U.K. and receives an income, that tax is paid on that income, where it is due,” the agency said. “Only the money the sports star earns in the U.K. that is connected to their performances in the U.K. is taxed.”

Getty Images

Woods admits fatigue played factor in Ryder Cup

By Jason CrookOctober 17, 2018, 12:35 pm

There’s was plenty of speculation about Tiger Woods’ health in the wake of the U.S. team’s loss to Europe at last month’s Ryder Cup, and the 14-time major champ broke his silence on the matter during a driving range Q&A at his annual Tiger Woods Invitational at Pebble Beach on Tuesday.

Woods, who went 0-4 in Paris, admitted he was tired because he wasn’t ready to play so much golf this season after coming back from a fourth back surgery.

“It was just a cumulative effect of the entire season,” Woods said. “I was tired because I hadn’t trained for it. I hadn’t trained this entire comeback to play this much golf and on top of that deal with the heat and the fatigue and the loss of weight.”

The topic of conversation then shifted to what's next, with Woods saying he's just starting to plan out his future schedule, outside of "The Match" with Phil Mickelson over Thanksgiving weekend and his Hero World Challenge in December.

“I’m still figuring that out,” Woods said. “Flying out here yesterday trying to look at the schedule, it’s the first time I’ve taken a look at it. I’ve been so focused on getting through the playoffs and the Ryder Cup that I just took a look at the schedule and saw how packed it is.”

While his exact schedule remains a bit of a mystery, one little event in April at Augusta National seemed to be on his mind already.

When asked which major he was most looking forward to next year, Woods didn't hesitate with his response, “Oh, that first one.”

Getty Images

Podcast: Fujikawa aims to offer 'hope' by coming out

By Golf Channel DigitalOctober 17, 2018, 12:03 pm

Tadd Fujikawa first made golf history with his age. Now he's doing it with his recent decision to openly discuss his sexuality.

Last month Fujikawa announced via Instagram that he is gay, becoming the first male professional to come out publicly. Now 27, he has a different perspective on life than he did when he became the youngest U.S. Open participant in 2006 at Winged Foot at age 15, or when he made the cut at the Sony Open a few months later.

Joining as the guest on the latest Golf Channel podcast, Fujikawa discussed with host Will Gray the reception to his recent announcement - as well as some of the motivating factors that led the former teen phenom to become somewhat of a pioneer in the world of men's professional golf.

"I just want to let people know that they're enough, and that they're good exactly as they are," Fujikawa said. "That they don't need to change who they are to fit society's mold. Especially in the golf world where it's so, it's not something that's very common."

The wide-ranging interview also touched on Fujikawa's adjustment to life on golf-centric St. Simons Island, Ga., as well as some of his hobbies outside the game. But he was also candid about the role that anxiety and depression surrounding his sexuality had on his early playing career, admitting that he considered walking away from the game "many, many times" and would have done so had it not been for the support of friends and family.

While professional golf remains a priority, Fujikawa is also embracing the newfound opportunity to help others in a similar position.

"Hearing other stories, other athletes, other celebrities, my friends. Just seeing other people come out gave me a lot of hope in times when I didn't feel like there was a lot of hope," he said. "For me personally, it was something that I've wanted to do for a long time, and something I'm very passionate about. I really want to help other people who are struggling with that similar issue. And if I can change lives, that's really my goal."

For more from Fujikawa, click below or click here to download the podcast and subscribe to future episodes:

Getty Images

Davies takes 2-shot lead into final round of Senior LPGA

By Associated PressOctober 17, 2018, 2:00 am

FRENCH LICK, Ind. - Laura Davies recovered from a pair of early bogeys Tuesday for a 2-under 70 that gave her a two-shot lead going into the final round of the Senior LPGA Championship as she goes for a second senior major.

In slightly warmer weather on The Pete Dye Course at French Lick Resort, the 55-year-old Davies played bogey-free over the last 11 holes and was at 6-under 138. Brandi Burton had a 66, the best score of the tournament, and was two shots behind.

Silvia Cavalleri (69) and Jane Crafter (71) were three shots behind at 141.

Juli Inkster, who was one shot behind Davies starting the second round, shot 80 to fall 11 shots behind.

''I had a couple of bogeys early on, but I didn't panic,'' Davies said. ''I'm playing with a bit of confidence now and that's good to have going into the final round.''

Davies already won the inaugural U.S. Senior Women's Open this summer at Chicago Golf Club.

Getty Images

Miller's biggest on-air regret: Leonard at Ryder Cup

By Jason CrookOctober 17, 2018, 12:00 am

Johnny Miller made a broadcasting career out of being brutally honest, calling golf tournaments exactly like he saw them.

His unfiltered style is what kept him on the air for nearly 30 years, but it wasn't always the most popular with players.

After announcing his upcoming retirement, Miller was asked Tuesday if there were any on-air comments he regretted over the last three decades. One immediately came to mind.

"I think that I didn't say the right words about Justin Leonard at Miracle at Brookline about he should be home watching it on TV. I meant really - I did say he should be home, but I meant the motel room. Even then I probably shouldn't have said that," Miller recalled. "I want so much for the outcome that I'm hoping for that I actually get overwhelmed with what I want to see. Almost the kind of things you would say to your buddies if you were watching it on TV, you know? He just couldn't win a match."

After struggling on Friday and Saturday in team play, Leonard ended up the U.S. hero after halving his Sunday singles match with José María Olazábal by holing a 40-foot birdie putt on the 17th hole - one of the most famous shots in Ryder Cup history.

"Of course he ended up - after the crappy comment I made that motivated maybe the team supposedly in the locker room, and he ends up making that 45-, 50- foot putt to seal the deal," Miller said. "Almost like a Hollywood movie or something."

Not only did the putt seal the comeback for the U.S., but it also earned Leonard an apology from Miller. 

"I apologized to him literally the next day; I happened to see him. I tried to make a policy when I go over the line that I get ahold of the guy within 24 hours and tell him I made a double bogey, you know. That's just the way I have done it through the years."