Golf’s playoffs will end once more at lovely East Lake, where the ruling class of professional golf goes to have its trust funds topped off.
At just about any stop on the PGA Tour, one may be struck by how little the chosen people on one side of the ropes have in common with the riffraff shouting “In-the-hole!” on the other. That the players even let us anywhere on the same course with them is something of a wonder.
We certainly can’t relate to the way they play the game, hitting the ball so far they should have to pay roaming charges. At the same time displaying the hands and precision of a surgeon (OK, a tree surgeon in some cases, John Daly comes to mind).
We can’t connect with how they dress for work. Go ahead Mr. Insurance Salesman, go in one day duded up like Rickie Fowler. A mental-health professional will be summoned.
Or with their luxury courtesy cars or their fabulous clubhouse buffets or all the free range balls they can hit.
Or the two words that have long distinguished the professional player: Tour wife.
Then the Tour Championship comes around and widens the class divide even more. There is envy on the breeze at East Lake.
All the top 100 players on last year’s money list eclipsed $1 million in earnings. And this season has been very, very good to Yellow Jackets — Matt Kuchar, more than $5 million; Roberto Castro more than $1.5 million. And to Bulldogs — Harris English and Russell Henley in the $2 million range; Bubba Watson closing in on that number.
Why a person would send his child to college without a set of golf clubs is unfathomable. Put down the books, pick up the hybrid.
Then on top of all that, the very richest of the rich get to play for one short week in Atlanta for another $10 million or so. Brandt Snedeker claimed $11.4 million in winnings and bonus at last year’s Tour Championship.
“We play for a staggering amount of money, no doubt about it,” Lee Westwood said a couple of years ago. “I’ve always stressed we are very, very fortunate. I think we are paid too much money, compared to police and teachers and nurses. The only thing you can probably justify it by is when golfers have a bad day we don’t get paid anything, but when we have a great day we get paid a lot.”
Not all the time. The No. 30th player in the 30-man Tour Championship field last year — it happened to be Westwood — claimed a $128,000 purse, which more than doubled when combined with his Fed Ex Cup bonus money.
You should march in tomorrow and demand a similar end-of-the-year bonus. You’ve earned it.