SBJ/20090202/Opinion

Golfers must reach out

As reported this week in our golf In-Depth, the business constituencies around the sport are following PGA Tour Commissioner Tim Finchem’s lead in asking players to be more engaged with their tour, its tournaments and its sponsors. It’s difficult. As independent contractors, golfers’ first obligations are to their competitive schedules and their own sponsors. But as we throw out the playbook in these unconventional times, we feel players must be more accountable for supporting the companies that support their tour.

PGA Tour players already spend up to six hours each week with executives who pay to play in pro-ams, but that commitment needs to be expanded through an outreach program crafted by the players council. Top-ranked players must not be exempt from any effort, either, because they are the golfers that companies are paying to associate with. Similarly, ticket-buying fans in every market deserve to see the best the tour has to offer. If players will not voluntarily visit certain markets, then perhaps the tour should mandate their occasional attendance.

It’s not all on the players. The PGA Tour could help itself by working to build the popularity of its stars outside the golf world and by targeting more pop culture integrations for its charismatic talent.

But we believe that if players don’t take a more active role, they may find that those swelling purses and sweet paydays will become far less fruitful. Do you think that would that get their attention?

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