PGA Players Donate To Japan Relief
By mustang6560 on 3/21/11
Bubba Watson is a great guy.

Sure, I am biased because Bubba is one of my favorite players. But, anyone who donates $50,000 to charity should be recognized.
Count Bubba Watson among the most recent PGA TOUR players pledging their support to the relief effort for the victims of the deadly earthquake and tsunami in Japan.

Watson just finished his final round of 68 at the Transitions Championship. And before he left the Copperhead Course, Watson found a PGA TOUR official and gave him a check for $50,000 made out to the American Red Cross.
Bubba wasn't the only Tour player to donate to the relief in Japan. Ryuji Imada donated $1,000 per birdie (which only netted $2,000 as he missed the cut), Brandt Snedeker donated $500 per birdie (netting $7,500), Bobby Gates donated $250 per birdie (netting $3,000) and K.J. Choi was the big donor at $100,000.

I've had a debate about this recently regarding athletes donating money to charity. While the sums of money they donate are typically large ($50k or $100k), the percentage is usually very small when you factor in their income level. The contention is why should these athletes seems like such noble individuals when the percentage of money they donate is so small?

I don't think you can discount Bubba's or K.J.'s donation simply because it's a small percentage. Not only will the Red Cross benefit (and the people in Japan) from these donations, it helps serve as an example for fans of these athletes. You wonder how many of Bubba's fans donated in response to his donation? A few is better than none.

Part of being an athlete (or celebrity) is being a role model. With all the disaster in the world, you wonder how much pressure these guys feel to donate to every cause. I'm sure to a certain level, it's stressful. But, "mo' money, mo' problems", right?

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[ comments ]
legitimatebeef says:
Disgusting on a few different levels. First of all, lots of people have donated money to Japan relief, but they don't go seeking attention for it. Secondly, the amount a player donates as a function of how many birdies he makes? What is this an elementary school fundraiser?? Sorry, that's a little too cutesy (not to mention egotistical) when you are talking about a major disaster. And I would hope that Mr. Imada can find it in his heart to dig a little deeper than that to help out his homeland. I mean he made two birdies so, what's his excuse gonna be? "I'd help out more, but my putting was off that day. Sorry!"
Clint24 says:
Ichiro donated over a million dollars, I believe. It was either our money or there's that totaled over a million.
cjgiant says:
Donating money for birdies could be a way to motivate you to do well, and can help get the crowd into the game. I have no issue with this as a tactic. Just because that's the publicized amount, that doesn't necessarily mean that is all these people gave (but maybe it is).

As for percentages, Bubba made $3 million last year. $50K is approximately 1.5% of this. If you make $60,000, that is the roughly the equivalent of a $1,000 donation. Is this a LOT? Maybe not, but how many of us have given $1,000? Of those, how many have no ties whatsoever to Japan?

Also, to assume the intention of players giving checks is selfish can be misguided. I am sure the whole spectrum of player is out there: those that are selfish and want the attention, those that think (or are directed) that the attention will help the cause overall, those that have the attention "thrust" upon them by the media, etc.
mmontisano says:
@cjgiant : while i like where you're going with your math, the only problem is that you're only accounting for his "on course" earnings. i'm sure Bubba made a ton more than that from his sponsors like PING and Travis Mathew last year.
cjgiant says:
True, point taken. And I also don't account for any other charities he/others might give to. Could they give more? Probably. Could all of us? Probably. Maybe there are a lot more saints out there, but for the first post to be that those helping are "disgusting" seems misplaced and overly cynical. I don't know what people's motives are, and I doubt anyone here does either.

Go to and there are at least six (6) different categories you can donate money to, including Japan relief; please feel free to help make up for the touring pros' deficient donations.
mjaber says:
The whole "birdies for bucks" thing is silly. The only way it makes any sense is if the PGA Tour, or a particular tournament or sponsor did it. Let's say Transitions decided that they were going to donate 1k for every birdie made during the tournament... or $100 for every shot under par the entire field was. That makes sense. An individual player, not so much.

I doubt Bubba did it for the press. I'd bet he simply finished his round, walked over to the Red Cross tent and pulled out his check book. There are some people who have been getting some bad press lately who I'd bet would do it for the press, though... if they did it at all.
Kurt the Knife says:
BTW, the japanese authorities are requesting avoiding contributions to religious charities as they quote," ...we need blankets, water, food and clothing. We need not boxes of bibles and faith related reading materiel."
The International Red Cross is a good start.
mmontisano says:
@cjgiant: i was just pointing that out. i actually completely agree with you.
cjgiant says:
I don't get the logic. I can agree with it being a bit silly. But it "only making sense" if a larger group does something doesn't seem to make sense to me.

Why can't an individual attempt to raise awareness (okay, in this case, who isn't aware) or otherwise "encourage giving" even when his employer/organization isn't doing something? Per your statement it appears that it is simply because the money isn't a lot (or as much). I doubt people in need are giving back anyone's $10 text contribution because it isn't enough or it was obtained in a silly way.

Is birdies for dollars a gimmick? Of course it is. It's a form a marketing/advertising. Could it be done by one in order to be self-aggrandizing? Certainly. Would it have been nice for a larger involvement and marketing effort by the entire PGA? Almost definitely. But does the size and/or breadth of the gimmick determine whether it makes sense?
falcon50driver says:
I saw a lot of cars being destroyed in the Japan flood. I think it would be a nice gesture if all the people in the U.S. who drive Japanese cars would send them back over there. The people in need over there would be helped, The donators would get a nice tax break, then they could then buy a new Mustang, or Corvette, helping our own economy, and put a few more Americans to work. where's the downside?
srogers13 says:
Hmmm, seems Bubba was a college teammate of Imada at Georgia.
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