PGA Championship, Players Championship Bump Purses To $10M For '14 Season
The PGA Championship and The Players Championship will “share the distinction of having golf's richest tournament next year” by offering $10M each in prize money, according to Doug Ferguson of the AP. PGA Tour Commissioner Tim Finchem and PGA of America President Ted Bishop yesterday announced the purse increases in a “new spirit of cooperation.” The PGA Championship will see a 25% increase, "making its purse the largest of the four majors.” Its purse was $8M this year. The Players Championship “for years had the largest purse” on the Tour -- $9.5M this year. The announcement is “part of a new collaboration between two groups that once were part of the same organization.” Finchem said that the idea was for them to “work together toward a common goal of growing the game.” He said that the PGA Tour would “run public service announcements during its televised events to highlight PGA of America programs such as ‘Get Golf Ready.’" It also plans to “feature PGA professionals in its weekly television shows and use PGA pros at tournaments to give clinics” (AP, 11/6). Bishop said, “There’s probably never been a better time of collaboration and cooperation between our two organizations since the PGA Tour and the PGA of America split" (FLORIDA TIMES-UNION, 11/7). In San Diego, Tod Leonard notes the PGA and the USGA "have been feuding all year, mostly over the anchored putting ban." That the PGA and PGA Tour "sided against the USGA to not support the anchoring ban was significant and appears to have spurred a greater interest on their part to work together" (SAN DIEGO UNION-TRIBUNE, 11/7).
LAND DOWN UNDER: ESPN.com's Bob Harig wrote now that the PGA Tour has "completed its first official points-earning swing through Asia, the idea of expanding surely will be broached -- if it hasn't been kicked around a good bit already." Harig: "And if so, why not Australia?" A swing of Malaysia, China and Australia is "not so far-fetched, as the Australian summer is now beginning with a stretch of three tournaments in four weeks, starting with this week's Australian PGA." Harig: "If you cede this time of year to football, why not have another overseas event, offering up some late-night television possibilities?" Golf officials in Australia "almost assuredly would welcome such a move, given their difficulty in securing sponsorships." None of the "purses for the three events" tops $1.5M, so an "infusion of PGA Tour sponsorship and marketing might help." The Australian Masters, operated by IMG, would "appear to be the tournament that makes the most sense" (ESPN.com, 11/6).
BAG ROOM BANTER: ESPN.com's Michael Collins reported more than 100 Tour caddies have "organized to create the Association of Professional Tour Caddies (APTC) with the hopes of improving their working conditions." The group "grew from a series of issues that irked some of the caddies, including the PGA Tour's decision to cancel 'caddie races' at the Waste Management Phoenix Open and the Crowne Plaza Invitational at Colonial for 2014, as well as an incident at the Barclays event in New York where caddies felt they were unjustly treated." A group of caddies "contacted an attorney a week after the Barclays," and a meeting "took place two weeks after that at the BMW Championship, where 35 of the 70 caddies on site attended." The vote to become an association "was unanimous," and the caddies "hired the law firm of Barlow, Garsek and Simon to represent them." The APTC "eventually reached out to 200 caddies," and of the 115 who responded, "all agreed to create the association" (ESPN.com, 11/6).