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The year began with the best of intentions and hope that the global recession wouldn’t touch the golf industry. That has become a moot point as time marched on. While its widely expected the economic pressures will eventually subside, some aspects within golf are still dealing with the here and now.
Long Drivers of America (LDA) have been forced to adjust the purse for the 2009 RE/MAX World Long Drive Championship downward. The silver lining, if it can be classified as one, in this decision is the adjustment will impact only one RE/MAX WLDC competitor, the 2009 Open division champion. Instead of the previously announced $250,000 first prize, which Jamie Sadlowski earned for winning the 2008 world title, this year’s champion will receive $150,000 for his efforts.
“We have adjusted the purse for the 2009 RE/MAX world finals primarily because of a significant shortfall in revenues associated with international qualifying,” said LDA chief executive officer Art Sellinger, citing losses incurred by the nonpayment of obligations. “Other critical factors that influenced this decision were a restructuring of our contract with RE/MAX International for 2009, which deferred some sponsorship dollars until 2010, and a restructuring within the past month of the level of support the RE/MAX championship receives from Mesquite Resort Association.”
Sellinger continued, “Reducing the RE/MAX purse is regrettable but necessary. We have grown the purse considerably over the past 15 years, paying out a total of $5 million in prize money, and we hope to continue to do so in the coming years. Adjusting the amount of potential earnings for one competitor this year is the best short-term resolution, we believe, to an unfavorable set of economic circumstances.”
Sellinger emphasized LDA has not been immune to financial pressures that have forced other sports entities to reduce purses and eliminate scheduled events, or in some cases, cancel entire seasons and cease operations. “We are working diligently to keep the RE/MAX World Long Drive Championship intact through 2012, the length of our contract with our longtime title sponsor,” he said. “That remains our top priority.”
Perhaps in the spirit of give and take, the world championship grid at the Mesquite Sports and Event Complex will we widened to 60 yards whereas before the grid was 50 yards wide.