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There was a time when the popular belief was golf was immune to the economy. Now that may sound like a fairytale given the new world that has emerged in 2009, but golf from a fair market value, is not what it was once thought to be. While the economy may show signs of pointing upwards from time to time, the PGA Tour has largely escaped to this point the chilling realities of 2009. But as Bob Dylan once sang, “The times they are a changin’,” so it would seem the harsh economic realities are closer than ever to catching up with the weekly fortunes up for grabs for those who call the PGA Tour home.
The site of Tiger Woods’ most impressive victory, Torrey Pines, is unable to find financial backing for its upcoming event, which is ten weeks away. The San Diego Union Tribune explores this topic, which is near and dear to its readers in greater detail. To read more click here.
Meanwhile, a former #1 player understands that its impossible to postpone the inevitable. “Look at the United States in general: 500 hotels are going to go into foreclosure next year. Nobody is really writes about that, but that's a reality. The shared demise of the global economy is everywhere. And the PGA Tour are suffering,” Greg Norman said. “In business, you have to be aware of going through cycles. I hate for the players to look recession-proof,” he continued. “I've been through three recessions. And I think the younger generation don't see it because they have never been through it before.”
European Tour Commissioner, George O’Grady went in a different direction than Tim Finchem’s PGA Tour with respect to holding the line on purses. O’Grady reevaluated and subsequently reduced the prize fund for the Race to Dubai in its first of a five year contract. “We made the offer, rather than them demanding they would honor their contracts, and I think everybody understands the word face,” O’Grady explained. “So we made that offer, and having spoken to a lot of our leading players at The Open Championship, specifically Greg (Norman) on a one-to-one at Sunningdale, and I think it's been well received here and shows no one is immune.”
While a year ago many were and are still, hoping the economy finds its way towards higher ground. But as time has ticked by, the question of when is still as relevant today as it was a year ago. In the meantime, over the next two years, the PGA Tour has approximately a dozen events as it stands today, that are in need sponsors re-upping or finding alternatives. It remains to be seen what the next television contract will produce for the Tour as well...