Did Tiger and Phil receive a kickback to play in the Greenbrier Classic?
By mustang6560 on 7/11/12
Tiger Woods and Phil Mickelson made history last week at the Greenbrier Classic - it was the first time both players missed the cut at a PGA Tour event. But, it seems as though more people were interested in a different stat - why were Tiger and Phil playing golf in West Virginia two weeks before the Open Championship? And, naturally, people started to speculate that Jim Justice, the owner of the Greenbrier, lured both players to the Old White TPC with lucrative appearance fees.

Did Tiger and Phil receive a kickback to play in the Greenbrier Classic, which is a violation of PGA Tour policy? As Ron Sirak said, "Don't know. Don't care. Doesn't matter."
Golf is as close to a risk-free investment as you can find in sports marketing. First off, there are no strikes or lockouts in golf. If you pay, there will be play. And there are no uniforms in golf so players become walking billboards. Slap your logo here.

For the most part -- with the notable exception of the scandal that cost Woods tens of millions and, to a lesser extent, John Daly -- there are no bad headlines in golf. The image of the players is as close to squeaky clean as you can get in sports.

Also, golfers can be used in corporate marketing in a way no other athletes can. You can play golf with Luke Donald at a corporate outing or in a pro-am, but you are not going to put on the pads and toss the old pigskin around with Peyton Manning.

As this message has sunk in, the corporate world has responded. The Royal Bank of Canada, for example, has a bunch of players under contract -- Donald, Jim Furyk, Matt Kuchar and Ernie Els among them -- and sponsors two stops on the PGA Tour. Are those appearance fees?

And in addition to these direct financial relationships with players, there are other ways to get around the appearance fee ban. It is not illegal for a sponsor to offer a player $100,000 to do a 30-minute walk-through at a cocktail party the Tuesday before the tournament. And gee, if he happens to stay and play the event, well that's just a lucky coincidence.

Or what if a corporation makes a hefty donation to a player's foundation? Might not the player then feel some sort of obligation to play in that firm's PGA Tour event? Happens. Is that an appearance fee?
They all sound like appearance fees to me.

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Image via Flickr, J

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[ comments ]
legitimatebeef says:
Much as I hate to align with this "Ron Sirak" I think he nails it. It may be a problem but it's not the public's problem. People have enough of their own trouble. Nathan, why you gotta burden us with these buzzkill stories? These are bigwig problems. We have a hard enough time trying to make contact.
mustang6560 says:
I thought you were big-timing it, beef.
SpaceMaNy0 says:
You mean pros get money/gifts/entrance/appearance fees from sponsors? Wow.
Backquak says:
Here I was, thinking they played for the love of the game.
Wes11point5 says:
Hell, if I was that good, I would do the same thing.
[ post comment ]
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