Maybe not heroes, just outstanding role models
Kudos to the European Tour for putting up the above video on its website. If ever there was a time to feel grateful we play this great game, then this is it.
Rory McIlroy, Tommy Fleetwood and the others many idolise are right: our true heroes aren’t those who find a way to get a little white orb into an elusive dark hole in fewer shots than most of. They’re the people right now putting their lives on the front line to help us through this coronavirus nightmare.
Hard to believe it’s not so long ago our government was knocking back NHS staff campaigning for a wage rise, and are now relying on them to get us through this mess. If it were up to me, they’d get a pay rise right now.
We focus a lot on how much money the top golfers earn, and understandably so. After all, the children and grandchildren of many of our top stars will probably not need to work. Take the career prize money of some players and you can probably triple it to get their true earnings from endorsements, appearance fees, corporate outings, etc. The PGA Tour pension fund is colossal.
There are $7 million tournaments our top players turn their nose up at because they have so much money. This year’s Players Championship had a $15 million prize fund. All the major prize funds are in excess of $10 million. So. Much. Money.
No wonder many fly by private jet.
Having said all that, our game goes out of its way to give back. The PGA Tour raises millions for charity every year. Rory McIlroy, Sergio Garcia and many others also raise millions through charitable foundations. Think of players like Nick Faldo, Paul Lawrie, Stephen Gallacher, Darren Clarke and others who have set up schemes to help promising children make the most of their talents.
McIlroy paid for the new, state of the art Holywood Golf Performance Academy, giving back to the club that helped hone his skills to becomes the world's number one player.
I've personally watched Ian Poulter conduct one of his junior golf days at Woburn. Poults is fantastic with the kids. He's not alone. So many players give back in ways none of us see, and don't get, or ask for, credit for it.
Anne Frank once said:
“No one has ever become poor by giving.”
The top players take and make a lot from the game but they also go out of their way to do their bit to give back too. We shouldn’t forget that.
Rory and company might not be true heroes, but they are outstanding role models for all future players.
They do our game proud.