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Shock: 21 Of Top 40 Executive Golf Salaries Based In Ponte Vedra

Alan Pittman's annual Golf Digest look at executive salaries in golf really is a thing to behold. Those 21 PGA Tour execs account for a staggering $19,727,308 in pay, and that's not including the $1.3 million from three World Golf Foundation incomes.

Still, say all you want for the PGA Tour bloat, here are the real standouts in Pittman's summary of mostly 2009 tax returns:

- The World Golf Foundation's most recent viewable tax return is from 2008. George Bush was still in office. What's the hold-up?

- Jim Awtrey, former PGA of America CEO since 2005, still raking in over $300k in 2009!

- Henry Hughes, over $600K in 2009 to run a golf tournament? Granted, it's The Players and better than one of the majors, but still...

-Brand Lady Bivens raked in $881,174 while careening the LPGA into the side of a mountain.

- Bill Calfee at $653,641 edged out Michael Sim for money title on the 2009 Nationwide Tour.

- Stephen Hamblin, AJGA Executive Director
came up just short of the USGA's Mike Davis in 2009. $371,174 to run a junior golf tour. But at least he edged the USGA's Human Resources Director by $7K a year. What a country!

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Reader Comments (23)

Given some of the other positions and names on the list, where is Kerry Haigh? Seems like he should be included.
06.29.2011 | Unregistered CommenterTodd
Love the PGA Tour Co-Coo's each knocking down 1.5+. Looks like municipal government.
06.29.2011 | Unregistered CommenterJRP
Yeah, maybe in Bell, California. But where else?
Who cares???

500k in Far Hills, NJ doesn't go that far anyway.
06.29.2011 | Unregistered CommenterJW
How do they make ends meet the poor devils?
Oh thats right - they've all got awesome expense accounts too!
06.29.2011 | Unregistered Commenterchico
That number for Finchem doesn't represent the full picture either -- it is low, possibly very low.

My hunch is he has a retirement account that rivals that of Dick Grasso. I'm talking mid-8-figures at a minimum, possibly approaching 9-figures before he retires. With their non-profit status I cannot believe there has been no pressure from anywhere for disclosure on the topic.

And speaking of non-profit, the NFL, MLB, NHL and NBA are all fully for-profit organizations. Comparing Finchem to commissioners of these leagues is not an appropriate comparison.
06.29.2011 | Unregistered CommenterDel the Funk
what del said. any financial disclosure by the tour has to be read in the context of their sham charitable non-profit status.
06.29.2011 | Unregistered Commenterthusgone
Reminds me of a great tune that Dan Hicks performs, "I Got MIne."
06.29.2011 | Unregistered CommenterMike T.
Geoff - You might need to expand the list another 50-100 executives before I can find anyone with whom I can identify with financially....
06.29.2011 | Unregistered CommenterRickABQ
@ thusgone, in New York there are laws about maximum compensation levels for executives at non-profit organizations. I don't know how good the laws are since Grasso beat back Spitzer's efforts to claw back a bunch of his compensation, but supposedly there are laws/guidelines in place.

I do not know if Florida has similar laws. However, given the political/economic climate we are faced with I'm surprised that no feisty reporters or politicians have really sunk their teeth into the issue and demanded some disclosure.

Heck, add players to that list! How much do you think the players really know about Finchem's total compensation? And who approves said compensation?
06.29.2011 | Unregistered CommenterDel the Funk
"feisty reporters"? Where? Did I miss them? I'm sure Rosie (or is it Rosey?) will get right on it.

As for Grasso, is the NYSE a non-profit? I thought not, for a while now. If ever.
@thusgone, what is "sham" about the PGA Tour's status? I don't think they claim to be a charity (except, of course, for the component known as "PGA Tour Charities, Inc."); rather, I think they are a 501(c)(6) trade association.
06.29.2011 | Unregistered CommenterCarl Nelson
@ -- Grasso NYSE Spitzer Langone and Non Profit -- the results will keep you busy for the rest of the week!
06.29.2011 | Unregistered CommenterDel the Funk
Just for starters:

"You can't pay the head of a not-for-profit that much money," Spitzer said at an afternoon news conference. "The amount paid, close to $200 million, was simply not reasonable."

Spitzer said the lawsuit, filed in state court in New York, would seek at least $100 million back from Grasso and $18 million back from Langone, though the amounts being sought have not been finalized. Langone was the chair of the Big Board's compensation committee when Grasso's pay was approved.


Unlike most of the people who ended up in Spitzer's cross-hairs (no pun intended!) Grasso and Langone went to the mat -- and prevailed.
06.29.2011 | Unregistered CommenterDel the Funk
@Del: I'll gladly take your word for it. Them that has, gets. A captive compensation committee, what we all need!
@Del, actually the NFL, NBA, MLB and NHL are set up as 501c(6) trade associations in the same way the tour is. We can argue about the comp level, but the comparison set is valid. Certainly more apt than a comparison with Dick Grasso. The numbers there are big, but nothing that is anywhere close to $200 million. Let's keep the righteous hyperbole within reason.
06.29.2011 | Unregistered CommenterAF
be interesting if they expanded list to include all golf exec's. wonder what Wally earns? would any golf writers or editors crack the list? Who would be the top TV earner? Nantz? J. Miller?

P.S. Wonder if Bob Combs took a cut to go over to World Golf Hall of Fame PR where there's so little to promote beyond the annual inductees?
06.29.2011 | Unregistered CommenterMedia driven
@ AF, I do not believe you are correct.

PGA Tour form-990's are available here:

Pretty much all Tour events are 501(c)(3) organizations except for a few that are grandfathered in, like Bay Hill (totally for profit). The Tour itself is set up as a 501(c)(6) but tour level 990's are available and include the requisite comp disclosures.

I have never seen similar documents for the NBA, or any other major league for that matter. I know Michael Jordan's Bobcats aren't a non-profit...they are a negative profit! Maybe such doc's exist at the league level for the NBA but my computer is acting up and I can't search the site presently.

As for the "hyperbole", I only used Grasso as an example of a guy that got called out for excessive pay at a non-profit...and a guy that was actually pursued by the NYAG. Nowhere do I mention $200,000,000. That number was taken directly from the article cited...not my words.

The number I used was "mid-8-figures at a minimum, possibly approaching 9-figures before he retires". I guess that really doesn't "rival" Grasso...but heck, what's a $100,000,000 amongst friends!

Do you think Finchem is underpaid, or overpaid?
06.29.2011 | Unregistered CommenterDel the Funk
And one other thing, I maintain that the comparison set is not valid.

As I think about it, a friend of mine is an investor in an NFL franchise that was awarded/started in the last 20 years. He is not the operating partner, just a minority owner. This NFL team makes darn good money year-in, year-out, and their most recent dividend check was the largest he had ever received.

Please explain to me how that dovetails with the PGA Tour? With the exception of Bay Hill that is, that one I understand...
06.29.2011 | Unregistered CommenterDel the Funk are correct, I do see that the NFL files 990's at the headquarters level -- but at the team level there is no resemblance to the PGA Tour whatsoever.
06.29.2011 | Unregistered CommenterDel the Funk
Not much diversity there.
06.29.2011 | Unregistered CommenterBuffett
Well, it's simply trickle down economics.
06.29.2011 | Unregistered CommenterRonnie
Here is an organization that does absolutely nothing for the game of golf except put money into Stephen Hamblin's pockets. Any parent who participates in the AJGA's racketeering operation should be embarrassed. Hamblin is the most overpaid person in the history of golf.
07.1.2011 | Unregistered CommenterRandy Reed

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