TO PAY OR NOT TO PAY: IS RESOLUTION TO RYDER DEBATE NEARING?
PGA of America CEO Jim Awtrey was interviewed by CBS'
Jim Nantz during the third round of the PGA Championship
Saturday and said that his organization "was prepared to
accommodate" the players' request to allocate a portion of
Ryder Cup revenues to charities of their choice. Awtrey:
"We've said we're going to work on this over the next few
months. By the end of the year we'll have a plan to
accomplish that." Awtrey: "In my opinion, listening to the
players ... there is no issue over pay-for-play. This is
put to bed. It is not an issue. We're going to work on
charitable contributions" ("PGA Championship," CBS, 8/14).
FALLOUT: Phil Mickelson, asked to confirm a report that
he "requested" a payment of $800,000 for each player: "It's
not accurate, but it's not far. That was not my solution.
The solution was to let (the PGA) decide the dollar amount
and whatever they came up with was fine" (BOSTON HERALD,
8/16). Lanny Wadkins said Mickelson was the "worst" at last
week's meeting at Medinah. (BOSTON HERALD, 8/14). Davis
Love III noted that the money goes to support PGA club pros:
"They operate the pro shops that also market the equipment
the tour players endorse. That's a big source of income to
the guys who play the tour" (ATLANTA CONSTITUTION, 8/14).
In DC, Leonard Shapiro wrote that several agents noted that
many players "have financial incentive clauses in their
equipment and clothing endorsement contracts for making" the
Ryder Cup team (WASHINGTON POST, 8/15). Paul Azinger said
the play-for-pay issue has nothing to do with charity:
"That's bull. It wasn't about charity at first. That's
just spin control" (STAR-TELEGRAM, 8/14). Brad Faxon, who
is against compensation: "I know I'm not going to make any
friends over this. .... It's just hard to be sympathetic
with these guys when there are people sitting home not
making 8 million a year" (BOSTON HERALD, 8/15).
THE MOTIVATION? In Atlanta, Furman Bisher wondered why
some of the players would seek compensation for playing in
the Ryder Cup and wrote that the most "logical" reason is
that they "resent the money which they generate going to the
PGA of America" (ATLANTA CONSTITUTION, 8/14). In N.Y.,
Frank Hannigan wrote that the players "don't trust" the PGA
or the PGA Tour, and wrote, "It is but an early skirmish in
what will probably become a war not to be contained without
a shakeout of the game's principal powers" (N.Y. TIMES,
8/15). In Boston, Joe Gordon speculated that the PGA of
America will eventually be "forced to compromise and direct
more of the profits to the PGA Tour, where a percentage of
the revenue already is earmarked" (BOSTON HERALD, 8/15). On
"The Sports Reporters," Mike Lupica said, "It has never been
a charity issue. This is the agents. This is IMG talking
for [Tiger] Woods and [David] Duval: 'How can we get off the
hook? I know -- we'll make it sound like it's all for the
kids.'" John Feinstein: "If you're asked to do a job, then
you should be paid for that job. ... But for them to bring
it up now and to bring it up publicly, it makes them all
look bad" ("The Sports Reporters," ESPN, 8/15).
CHOOSING SIDES: In Orlando, Larry Guest, on players
supporting play-for-pay: "Somebody please tell them they
can't win public favor with this churlish stance" (ORLANDO
SENTINEL, 8/15). In Jacksonville, Mike Bianchi wrote to
"spare me the charity talk. You know and I know this isn't
about the merciful among us. ... My country tis of thee.
Sweet land of appearance fee" (TIMES-UNION, 8/15). But in
St. Paul, Jim Caple wrote that it's "un-American [to
suggest] the people who generate all that revenue shouldn't
have a voice in what happens to the money" (PIONEER PRESS,
8/15). In Baltimore, John Eisenberg writes that Woods and
Duval "deserve to make more than" the $5,000 they will get
playing in the Ryder Cup, "but to complain about it just
weeks after ABC handed them" $1.4M for the "Showdown at
Sherwood" is the "definition of greed" (SUN, 8/16).