Oct
25
2009
Paige Mackenzie: Am I Spoiling My PGA Tour Player?
By Stephanie Wei under General

Paige Mackenzie is an LPGA Tour player. When she’s not playing golf, she likes to write every now and again. She graciously penned a guest blog for Wei Under Par to share her reaction to the most recent column by SI/Golf.com’s anonymous pro.

I recently read an article from an anonymous pro bashing a new PGA Tour policy that requires some players to attend sponsor functions on Tuesday and Wednesday during a tournament week.

He describes the experience as pure drudgery: “[Players] are on the hook to visit sponsors — that’s a nightmare. I can tell you that every player would rather endure a five- or six-hour pro-am round than put on a happy face and hang out at a two-hour dinner.”

To say I was upset would be an understatement. It is the players with that attitude which makes it all the more difficult on the rest of the players (on all golf tours) to make the experience worthwhile for the sponsors. They pay a generous sum of money to support the Tour — not only because they love golf and enjoy a hospitality tent, but it’s also to wine and dine their clients; it’s a marketing play for them, too.

For example, at a Pro-Am this year, Julieta Granada played with a group that was entertaining a distributor of their product. She is charming and bubbly and gave a mini-lesson to one of the distributors. Interestingly enough, the following day the company that brought the Pro-Am group did several million in new business with the clients they invited.

I am not writing this to compare the LPGA to the PGA; we each have our own unique challenges and responsibilities in our job and on Tour. It does however make me wonder if some of the guys on the PGA Tour are acting like spoiled brats.

The anonymous pro article reminds me of a recent piece I read on raising spoiled children (don’t ask why):

When Too Much Attention Causes Spoiled Behaviors

Sometimes [PGA Tour players] act spoiled when [the PGA Tour and sponsors] do too much. Don’t continue to do things for your [PGA Tour players] that they can physically do for themselves.

For example, most preschool-age children can dress themselves, brush their hair and put their own toys away.

To do these things regularly for [PGA Tour players] teaches them to feel they deserve such service all the time. Few [PGA Tour players] learn to show appreciation for these efforts. Instead, they often become impossible to satisfy, thinking there is no limit to what they can demand. [The PGA Tour and sponsors] who feel exhausted and unappreciated may find that they have made their [players] dependent on them.

I am poking fun, but this is a serious issue for the PGA because players rely on sponsors to even have the opportunity to play. I have one thing to say to the anonymous pro and the other players that agree with his stance: If they feel entertaining sponsors is a “nightmare,” GROW UP! This is your job, we work in an entertainment industry and we are a sponsor-driven sport. There is a reason that sponsors support professional golf, and it’s not for the buffet. Rather, it’s one of the only sports in the world that they get to play and interact WITH the athletes.

So do your fellow golfers a favor, put on a happy face and DO YOUR JOB.