I like sports. I grew up in Detroit rooting for Al Kaline and Gordie Howe, then I was an avid softball player and a lunatic Laker fan for most of my 30 years in LA. So, I get the irrational, cultural overlay of novices having flights of unrealistic fancy and the vicarious thrill of watching honed athletic performances. But, professional athletes, like all participants in celebrity-driven enterprise, transitioned from being barely paid to better paid to overly paid to obscenely compensated, even taking into account the time and commitment required to achieve such status. Major league pitchers make thousands of dollars per pitch. The best of the NBA and NFL and NHL command $50+M per year. Soccer players…don’t get me started. And, today’s top golfers can take home 1st prize money for a single tournament that exceeds the career earnings of great champions of the not-so-distant past. I’m not sure why sports enthusiasts seem so accepting of this leap when the ticket prices which partially cover those skyrocketing salaries have become unaffordable for most. Of course, there’s the TV option, if you can figure out what set of services are required to view the events you seek and you can endure the endless commercials that are the real source of revenue for sports franchises. Oh…and the cost of snacks has gone way, way up too.
This isn’t, however, a general rant against the inanity of perceived worth and the obscenely unbalanced distribution of wealth. This is about LIV Golf and the elite players seduced by Saudi money to abandon the PGA except for participation in major tournaments. The Saudi’s don’t just invest heavily in golf. I don’t have empirical data regarding the Saudi bankrolling of global terrorism or charts and graphs giving specifics about human rights atrocities under the rule of the Saudi Monarchy, but I do know that Jamal Kashoggi isn’t answering my calls… then again, a lot of people don’t answer my calls. LIV Golf started a few seasons ago by offering some of the PGA’s top earners and fan favorites signing bonuses in the hundreds of millions of dollars…each. Phil Mickelson, Dustin Johnson, Brooks Koepka, Sergio Garcia, Bryson DeChambeau and many others eagerly jumped. I am not privy to the bank records of any of these assholes, but most were already millionaires between their tour winnings and endorsements. LIV’s enticements were monetarily life changing, no doubt, but they came with a dotted-line signature agreement with…probably the Devil. OK, free will and all that. I acknowledge their right to choose, but once they did…fucking stay away from the PGA you motherfuckers! No! You may not participate in the Majors with the great golfers who care more about the game than piles of bloody cash…and I’m pretty sure that a lot of it is bloody, very bloody.