Posts Tagged ‘Tiger Woods’

Sanctimony Comes To Golf

June 11th, 2022 No comments


With all of the ongoing vexations occurring in the world today, the latest headline grabber comes from the sports world.  As we all know, the world of ‘sports’ has changed dramatically over the last few generations, evolving from earnest competitions among talented participants to become grossly commercial endeavours pitting billionaires vs billionaires and their stables of ponies.  Sports is big business and most everyone in the world is a fan of some kind of sports activity.

Worldwide, but especially in the US, sports is not a pastime of leisure, or of dilettantes.  It is serious business as virtually every college and university in America has a sports program that is the farm system for players hoping to turn professional.  None of these programs would exist if not for the monetization potential of any particular sport.  I suppose the javelin toss and hammer throw could be the exceptions.  They’ve yet to make the televising of throwing spears or iron balls appealing to the masses…. but maybe one day.

There is no question that money is the lifeblood for sports; we’ve become accustomed to eye popping sums offered to professional athletes based on their perceived ability to fill a stadium, draw TV viewership or hawk products.

One of the few sports to have escaped (somewhat) this crass commercialism was golf. Sure, the players wore logo’d shirts and hats, but the players were always portrayed as gentlemen whose goals were loftier than just the prize cheque for winning a tournament.  It was good enough to be recognized as good.  Or it was… until money started to drive the game, which began with Arnold Palmer and ultimately with the monetization of Tiger Woods.  As the game changed from the genteel sentiments of Bobby Jones to the present day “Nascar-ing” of the sport, money has become the dominant influence of the game.  Forget Titleist or Callaway, the number one driver in golf….is money.

The recent uproar in the genteel golf world laid bare this reality as an upstart league, the LIV tour, backed by wealthy Saudis, sought to lure top tier players away from the long established PGA tour by offering eye watering amounts of money to play in their tournaments.  To illustrate the lure, consider that Tiger Woods, arguably the greatest in the history of the game, won 18 major tournaments along with 82 regular victories.  His total earnings for his career amounts to just over 120 million dollars.  Dustin Johnson, with only a fraction of Wood’s success was offered 125 million dollars, just to come over to the new league. I’m not going to judge Johnson’s sense of allegiance or values, but we all know, he isn’t going to win 18 majors and 82 tournaments in his career.  The same is true for all of the other notable names that have elected to forgo the PGA brand for the LIV offering.  In other words, these athletes are doing what every other athlete does in any other sport, they go to the highest bidder.  Money has affected golf; what a shock!

Of course the other criticism levelled against the defecting players is that they are supporting a regime which has an abysmal record on human rights.  Not only that, but the Saudis are the source of nationals responsible for terror attacks on the US.  None of those accusations are unfounded.   But as in most narratives, there is the other side of the coin.  Nike, one of the biggest sponsors of players on the PGA tour, (and in fact all sports) manufacture most of their gear in China, a nation which pays as much attention to human rights as Italian drivers do to stop signs.

You could argue that the big money paid to elite athletes sponsored by Nike are in fact off the backs of suffering worker bees oppressed in China.  It’s somewhat akin to the superiority that drivers of electric cars feel over petrol drivers, even though their electricity is made from burning coal.  If we’re going to demonize nations for their repressive actions, that’s fair.  It’s also fair to then point out the repressions in all nations, including the US and Canada, oft considered paragons of liberty.

It’s fair to say that the past two years have seen the most repressive human rights agendas perpetrated by these very nations that most vocally protest the deeds of the Saudis.  As of this writing, Canada for example, has yet to allow all of its citizens from leaving the country. Certain parts of the US still force people to inject harmful products into their bodies in order to work.  Bank accounts are seized over actions critical to the governments.  I don’t expect PGA players to refuse cheques issued by sponsors in these countries.

Both arguments against the defecting players are hypocritical.  No one amongst us would pass on an offer of significantly higher income for doing the same thing.  That is illogical. If we expect these guys to play for the love of the sport, then people should also be expected to work because they love accounting.  As for the association with human rights thuggery; have a look in the mirror; objects are closer than they appear.


Rewards For Excellence

June 5th, 2014 No comments

link Taliban Dream Team: Who are the 5 prisoners traded for Bergdahls freedom? | Fox News.

The release of 5 Taliban guys in exchange for Sgt. Bergdahl  is an event  that has to anger or annoy at least one person.  That would be the number 6 terrorist on the release list.  The link describes the various nefarious exploits of the top 5 Taliban guys and we must suppose that the number 6 guy didn’t quite cause as much mayhem and destruction as the top 5 did.  As we’ve determined before, that consternation must come with mixed feelings.  On the one hand, all the guys below 5 get to still live in relative comfort without the corporate pressure of plotting the next successful hit.  On the other hand, they miss out on the adulation of their peeps back at home.

History is replete with the exploits of those that went above and beyond and were able to distinguish themselves from the vast majority of people who toil anonymously in their chosen fields.  Even in the mass murder and mayhem business, it seems that excellence in the field is rewarded.  You would think by now that some of the foot-soldiers in the Jihad movement would be a little less eager to don the ball bearing vest when they see that their superiors get fed and coddled by the enemy and then feted by their own people upon their release.  All that the plebes get are promises of untouched women in the great beyond.

What’s the lesson here?  It’s the universal one: whatever you do, strive to be the best at it if you want to be treated well by society.  We can foresee the Taliban guys giving inspirational speeches at high school graduations. The incumbent president seems to be taking that philosophy as his operating beacon as well.  Not content to be just a number in the string of Presidents through history, he appears intent on cementing his position as the worst thereby ensuring his immortality.  At this point, Jimmy Carter is rightfully miffed and Woodrow Wilson is convulsing in his grave.

The only certainty about attaining recognition for being the best at what you do is that someone will always come along trying to top that position.  In the case of the 5 Taliban guys just recently released, you can bet that some in the ranks will want to surpass their positions like golfers trying to oust Tiger Woods as number 1.  We can expect more killings, more destruction and larger scale mayhem.   In the case of someone one day trying to usurp Obama’s role in history, well that’s a race to the bottom nobody should want to celebrate.