What's funny about HSBC's Giles Morgan lamenting Tiger and Rory's absence from his WGC event this week in China?
That Rory and Tiger committed (extremely) early to HSBC's January event in Abu Dhabi where they are undoubtedly receiving huge appearance fees? No.
That the Morgan has 13 of the top 20 in the world at the HSBC, and is unhappy, even though a field like that will make it one of the strongest fields of the year?
No, downright LOL funny: speaking on behalf of sponsors who are concerned about star players not teeing up every single week, Morgan apparently forgot that back in January he praised the very thing that is undermining his event this week.
Speaking to Bob Harig in his look at the role of appearance fees, Morgan was defensive about the notion of appearance fees "commercial arrangements" with some players:
"The commercial arrangements we have with some of the players is long seated,'' said Giles Morgan, group head of sponsorship for HSBC, which is in the second year of a five-year contract to sponsor this tournament. It also sponsors the WGC-HSBC Champions in China, as well as several other tournaments.
"Golf is a product and golf is a product particularly in new markets. And you have to ensure that the players are able to showcase what the sport is to the broader public. We are trying to take this sport to a new audience, which means that commercial arrangements are much more likely.''
Of course, such "commercial arrangements" are not allowed at a PGA Tour sanctioned event like the HSBC Champions.