It appears the PGA of America has no problem living in the past. After all it can be a comfortable place to exist. In the real world where everyone is focused on the present with an eye towards the future, the organization rolled out some obscure information intended to propagate its own misguided agenda. “In the last several PGA Championships, we have reached out to the secretaries who lead the various departments at the state level, and certainly the Governor's Office to showcase just how vibrant and stable this sport is in relatively uncertain economic times,” said Joe Steranka, Chief Executive officer of The PGA of America.
“We did a study last year that we released at Hazeltine as part of our PGA Championship in Minnesota and had Governor Tim Pawlenty come out to join us there,” said Steranka. “This year again we used a company called SRI, Stanford Research International, that put together a template that uses federal and state economic data to compute the job impact, the tourism impact, the charitable impact of our industry in the state,” he continued. “Here in Wisconsin, (site of this year’s PGA Championship) that means 38,000 jobs. 38,000 people who are able to put food on the table for their families because of the nation's golf courses.” Here is where Joe starts to lose credibility with his agenda.
“These are based on 2008 numbers, but some $771 million in wages that go along with that,” he added. Meanwhile, never the facts get in the way of a good story even if the world is in a much different place than it was just two years ago. “We think the Secretary of Tourism is very excited, because right now there are about 80 million tourism visits every year (not sure what year Joe is talking about) and we computed 1.2 million are related to golf and that will generate almost $900 million in impact for the state, many of them here at Whistling Straits and Blackwolf Run,” he said.
Steranka has friends with big titles who also are on board with his outdated numbers. “The report indicates that the annual overall economic impact of golf in Wisconsin is $2.4 billion and nearly 40,000 jobs. So it is not only a great past time for our state, but it has become a central part of our tourism industry and a major employer in Wisconsin,” said, none other than, Wisconsin Governor, Jim Doyle.
Upon questioning, the PGA’s CEO acknowledged that only “about half” of the 38,000 jobs he proclaimed were full time positions. Without intending to sound callous, in difficult times, many people look for some leadership to offer some sort of guidance that indeed better days lay somewhere ahead. Quoting statistics from 2008 is unrealistic if not unconscionable. There is a decent argument to be made that the sale price of Cobra Golf by Acushnet to Puma (detailed in the August 9th issue of Web Street) might have been slightly different if the clock was turned back to 2008. We all know the perception of Tiger Woods’ golf game and personal life are significantly different, as another glaring example of the world that was versus the one that is here today. Meanwhile, those in a position of leadership prefer to offer a glimpse to a past that can be categorized as somewhat delusional, yet intended as inspirational to those who are in the trenches maintaining the good fight... Perhaps, Joe and Company should listen to the words of Tiger Woods. “Well, I think in life you just have to keep moving forward, and that's what I'm doing now,” he said in his press conference today. At least the world’s #1 isn’t afraid of the real world...