Recently, a group of golfers were sitting around the 19th hole, discussing,
among other things, the Ryder Cup results.
As I passed by, the foursome stopped me and asked my opinion on why we've done so poorly in the last several events. I tried to beg off, but they insisted on hearing me out, so here goes.
Like so many things in life, money corrupts: too much, too easy to come by
makes just about anyone lose the fire and desire to win.
The last money list for the PGA tour shows 93 millionaires who aren't exactly household names.
Of the 93 listed, fewer than one third have won any event of importance or none at all. The big culprit, as I see it, is the 125 player exempt list.
Thanks to Tiger Woods and a few other tour stalwarts, the tour is enjoying purses of unbelievable proportions. If you make the cut and
finish in the top 30 or 40, you can make a decent living.
With all this money at hand, the average tour player has lowered the expectation level and
seems satisfied to make the 125 list. The thought of winning goes out the
Lee Trevino (a proven winner) makes the suggestion that the exempt list be reduced to the low 90 money winners, opening the door for an influx of players hungry for a chance to show what they can do.
Trevino states that the 125 list breeds complacency and mediocre performance. Competition breeds the desire for excellence, and those 35 new spots open to qualification will get these "fat cats" off their duffs to try harder.
This may sound harsh, but the truth hurts. We have to change the players' mindsets with goals to strive for better performances.
Call it survival of the fittest, if you will, but this is a fact of life, in golf, as in real life.
Not all of us can be Tiger Woods, but we can be our own "Tiger" with a little more effort.
Tiger has, in fact, raised the bar for many competitors, but the majority seem to be happy with a check for 25th place.
Take away the big slice of cheese and watch the mice hustle for their share. We have great junior and college programs, but I think the kids are being steered to the money list instead of the winner's circle.
Again, reducing the exempt list to 90 will make the players get tougher, make the new players better who want to be in the top 90 and make those in the top 90 want to stay there and not be replaced by the new blood. We all need goals, a renewal of interest and a quest for victory.
Needless to say, my opinion stirred controversy and discussion among the
players I was talking with. Strive for perfection, but never expect
it. Improvement is the elixir that'll cure our Ryder Cup blues.
Yours for better golf,
Del Starks is a PGA teaching professional at Abacoa Golf Club in Jupiter. Contact him at (561) 262-0708, e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org or visit www.delstarks.com.