4. The PGA Tour has developed a plan to offer its players and caddies financial aid during the hiatus, with players being offered various advances, and caddies receiving a distribution of $250,000 from the Valspar Caddie Hat program, and an increase of the balances available for caddies under the caddie benevolent fund. But the Tour has not yet announced any plans to assist Korn Ferry Tour players in a way that, say, Major League Baseball is giving its minor leaguers a weekly stipend. Any thoughts on if/how the Tour could/should help out the players on its developmental circuit?
Bamberger: I’m sure these issues are far more complex than I could understand, but my starting point would be, of course, help those first who need the help the most. If the PGA Tour is really a family, as it describes itself in times of need, it already knows that and operates under that principle. Here’s hoping it does, anyhow. I’d be more worried about the wait staff at TPC Sawgrass, etc.
Dethier: It makes sense to follow a similar model, where Korn Ferry players could borrow against their future earnings, to help string things out a bit. But I understand the reluctance from the Tour — few things are less certain than a pro golfer’s next paycheck. There are plenty of benefits to the freedom of these “independent contractors” — this is where it really gets tricky to figure out who’s responsible for taking care of whom.
Sens: Strikes me as a can of worms the Tour is unlikely to open, as once you get started, where do you stop? Though it does seem a bit backward to start at the top circuit and work down, rather than the other way around. How about the same deal for all fully exempt Korn Ferry players and their caddies?
LKD: It’s very easy for me to say the Tour should do that. It would be great that they did, but it’s also a business, and with no money currently coming in, the potential for its rights deals to be affected by all this and everything else, there’s no use being idealistic. It would be nice, of course. I’d love it if it happened, but I have no idea if it’s financially feasible for them to take on that commitment.
5. Auctions are proving to be a popular way for golf to help fight the coronavirus. A number of big-name players are hawking signed memorabilia for the cause, while Pinehurst Resort is auctioning a number of creative experiences — fancy having The Cradle par-3 course to yourself for half a day? — for guests to enjoy. Put on your fundraising cap and dream up another golfy auction item that golf-lovers couldn’t resist. Anything goes!
Bamberger: Play Augusta National Golf Club with Tiger, lunch in the Champions locker room. For two. Breakfast with Annika, no handshaking. Pancakes made to order. A tour of the Arnold Palmer Museum (his barn, really) in Latrobe, led by one of his old buddies.
Dethier: Give Jordan Spieth a playing lesson to see if you could crack the code. Play a lefty match against Brooks Koepka. Share some bourbon with Patrick Reed with the promise that he’ll answer two questions — ANY two — with complete honesty.
Sens: Back-to-back lessons with Brandel Chamblee and Cameron McCormick. A 36-hole day at the Old Course, one round with modern equipment, the other with hickories. And how about instead of an auction, we make it a lottery, so that not just the super rich get a chance at the experience? You’d probably raise just as much money, if not more, as you’d get more candidates vying for the win.
LKD: Every exclusive and expensive golf course in the country — from Pine Valley, Augusta National, Cypress, Pebble Beach, TPC Sawgrass and the like — all get together, and for one day auction off only their entire tee sheet. You’re allowed to buy one tee time at one course, no double-dipping allowed (which wouldn’t be possible because it would all be on the same day) and all the money goes to charity. Pie in the sky, yes, but could you imagine? The richest clubs on the planet could give so little and in return, combine to send millions and millions of dollars to charity. We could make it a national golf holiday. The one day a year golf is for all.
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