- Alistair Tait
Some Tour Pros need a reality check
Some tour professionals really do live in a parallel universe. They. Just. Don’t. Get. It.
If you’ve been immersed in the game as long as I have, you’ll be used to the pampered life a lot of our top players lead. Fortunately, the majority realise just how lucky they are to be playing the game they love for a living, but there are some who come out with things that just boggle the mind.
Canadian Adam Hadwin and Scott Stallings of the United States are among that select few who need a reality check. Seems they won’t return to competitive golf unless everything is as it was before the coronavirus rocked our world. They seem to suggest they’ll only return to competitive golf when God’s in his heaven and all is right with the world.
Speaking to TSN, Hadwin revealed he might not return to the PGA Tour if players aren’t allowed to remove flagsticks:
“I putt with the flag out, so if we all of a sudden are going to be forced to putt with it in to not touch a flag, I’m going to have issues with that, and that might make me honestly rethink playing, because it changes everything.”
“When I get on the greens I’ll be thinking about it, how I’m putting with the flag in and I haven’t been able to adjust to it and I shouldn’t have to adjust to it. Maybe I’ll protest, maybe I wouldn’t. If that’s the only possible way for us to play again, I don’t know, maybe. Maybe I’ll play and moan about it every day that I play and just go do it. Hopefully it doesn’t come to that.”
Stallings told Golf.com that many players wouldn’t be too happy if strict social distancing rules were in effect. He said:
“Guys are not going to play for their livelihood with no rakes in the bunker and no caddies. That’s just not going to happen.
“I’m fully confident that there are going to be guys who choose not to play.”
Hadwin has made $12,002,417 in career earnings on the PGA Tour. Stallings clocks in at $11,475,805. Those are just official earnings. You can at least double those figures for endorsements, corporate outings, etc.
These guys play in multimillion tournaments on the PGA Tour week in week out. Thirty million Americans have filed for unemployment, and this pair is talking of not playing for million plus first place prizes because they can’t touch flagsticks, there might be no bunker rakes and can’t have their caddies.
You can bet when Hadwin was growing up in Moose Jaw, Saskatchewan, and Stallings in Worcester, Massachusetts that if you said to them they’d have a chance to earn a million plus first place prize on the PGA Tour but had to leave flagsticks in holes, there would be no bunker rakes and had to carry their own bags they’d have jumped at the opportunity.
Maybe they need to talk to Peter Mitchell. Years ago, I interviewed the Englishman in his home in Ruckinge, Kent, after he won the 1998 Portuguese Open, his third European Tour victory. I asked him about his feelings on life as a Tour Pro. He said:
“Every day is like Christmas day for me.”
Mitchell, who practised by hitting balls on a beach near his Kent home, realised how lucky he was just to be playing golf for a living. He always seemed to have a smile on his face. And rightly so. Mitchell went from being an assistant professional to a lucrative living on the European Tour.
There’s been a lot of talk about bifurcation in golf in recent years, one set of rules for professionals and another for amateurs, to reign back the problem of distance at the elite level. It hasn’t happened, but it’s alive and well as far as attitude goes.
Most of us are itching to get back to the fairways. We don’t care if we can’t touch flagsticks or there are no rakes in bunkers
Seems only the best will do for a select, pampered few.