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Hayes: Just One Big Aussie Event, Please

Mark Hayes speaks for a lot of people in urging Aussies to figure out a way to have at least one big event perhaps instead of trying to put together a string of tournaments to attract top players.

Because as Kingston Heath reminded us, Australia golf is just too pure to not be attracting more top players--including Aussies--this time of year.

Our national Open and PGA championships have hitched their future to the OneAsia Tour and are, despite inevitable protests from those involved in decisions about their future, properties of media giant World Sports Group.

The rival IMG Media, an arm of the company that owns and promotes the Masters, is in a commercial war that means the tournaments are - despite public assurances to the contrary - rarely treated with the same even hand.

Meanwhile, for the fourth year in a row, we've had a range of the world's best golfers visit Melbourne's Sandbelt and sing its praises in the sweetest possible tones.

In an ideal world, the PGA Championship would travel there in a fall date slot every four years when the Olympics are played around the traditional PGA date. This would give the fifth of four majors instant international cache. But since taking the PGA west of the Mississippi appears a stretch, we'll keep dreaming of something else grand for Australia.

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Reader Comments (25)

"In an ideal world" you move the US PGA to Australia once every 4 years ? Ideal for who ? Not the US PGA, not US spectators, certainly not US players. I think the Aussie courses are wonderful, but then again, so are many in Ireland or non links courses in Britain, and I doubt the US PGA would consider a move there.
11.19.2012 | Unregistered CommenterBrianS
Good point, US fans really are deprived of big time golf and it would be unfair to take away the chance for those in Louisville, Rochester, Kiawah and other huge markets of seeing the pros.

The point, which sailed over your head as usual, is that there is too much golf in the U.S. and a more subtle point: the PGA Championship is by far the least compelling major. Something like this would give it increased international relevance and also help with a scheduling nightmare that the Olympics have created.
11.19.2012 | Registered CommenterGeoff
Lets move some pyramids from Egypt over to Australia while we're at it.
11.19.2012 | Unregistered CommenterTN Jed
The solution is for Australia's best players to support their country's major events. Once an Aussie always an Aussie. Come on guys, don't rely so much on your agents and play where you would if you were making $75,000 a year.

TN Jed
Good idea and when the Pyramids are set down on Australia's ground let's hope all the flies are smashed.
11.19.2012 | Unregistered CommenterLynn S.
The biggest problem with OZ is taxes. The UK has this also for sponsoring cash. As far as I understand the player has to pay 50% of his winnings to OZ. Fine. He gets a break in his home country for already paying taxes abroad. Why would anyone show up for such low cash, minus appearance fees if you get them, is why no one plays in OZ? Simple. TW get 3m to show up last year from the Queensland Tourism board, pays 50%, and he is still happy. Not rocket science here at all. Just look at the numbers.

11.19.2012 | Unregistered CommenterE
@E - The top tax rate in Australia works out at no more than 40%. But whatever it is, I know a lot of the players - the tax has nothing to with the issue....
11.19.2012 | Unregistered CommenterIanB
To paraphrase Josh Lyman: "A little closer to the box, please". And no, I didn't miss the point, I just think it's of roughly the same quality as the one that had you ridiculing Olazabal for trying to actually win the Ryder Cup.
11.19.2012 | Unregistered CommenterAHW

Tax rates do mean quite a bit if you don't have to show to make a card. That is a problem. And secondly, if you have the choice to play in HK for 2m US or 1m Aussie where would you go? I think HK if I can get the start. Put on the Aussie Masters for 5-7M US and I think a lot more will show up that. Get a sponsor then.

11.19.2012 | Unregistered CommenterE!

Tax rates do mean quite a bit if you don't have to show to make a card. That is a problem. And secondly, if you have the choice to play in HK for 2m US or 1m Aussie where would you go? I think HK if I can get the start. Put on the Aussie Masters for 5-7M US and I think a lot more will show up that. Get a sponsor then.

11.19.2012 | Unregistered CommenterE!
Top players won't come without appearance money, regardless of purse size. The numbers that the top 20 are asking now are astronomical, and past Rory and Tiger it is hard to see who in that next echelon would make a substantial difference to the success of an event.
11.19.2012 | Unregistered CommenterGrant
Where were guys like Greg Chalmers and John Senden? I became a fan after last year's Aussie run of events. Can they really be that tired to not make an appearance in an event like this past week?
11.19.2012 | Unregistered CommenterHilltop
Great post Geoff. It really does make sense to make the PGA championship international monetarily and for the worlds golfers.
11.19.2012 | Unregistered CommenterIan McAllister
If indeed "there is too much golf in the US", then you can go ahead and take the WGC Accenture Match Play, and the WGC Doral, and for that matter the WGC Bridgestone, and leave us our almost 100 Year Old Major Championship thanks. I'm sure that those sponsoring corporations would pay to put on those events in the middle of the night US time, which btw were the "spectators" I was referring to, not on site variety. I'm sure it is a minor complication that the PGA is the underwriting body and is a US organization.
11.19.2012 | Unregistered CommenterBrianS
Don't forget what's really important to the PGA: TV ratings. Competing against football at odd hours is a non-starter.
11.19.2012 | Unregistered CommenterKS
If Australia can't support the two big events they already have how will jamming in the PGA help them?

Now the Ryder Cup, there's an idea....maybe the Euro's would sell one to Australia?!?
11.19.2012 | Unregistered CommenterDTF
What about the President's Cup?

"... if you have the choice to play in HK for 2m US or 1m Aussie where would you go?" Well, if we're talking about Royal Melbourne, Kingston Heath, Royal Adelaide, or Barnbougle, there is no question. And probably another dozen I have never heard of. But that's just me, I suppose.
11.19.2012 | Unregistered CommenterKLG
An Australian's perspective on a couple of things here...

Firstly, I would say with 99.99% confidence that the current total prize money and structure of the PGA Tour is completely unsustainable in the long term. Economics 101 will dictate that - as will 16T+ of debt. Wouldn't be at all surprised if an increasing number PGA/WGC tournaments are played outside the US.

Secondly, the biggest problem for Australian golf is not the lack of tournaments, it's that we're not producing enough good young players. Plenty of good amateurs but they are failing to make it in the pro ranks. Not sure what the problem is? There's plenty of good courses and plenty of money in Golf Australia. Maybe they have it too easy and don't need to work hard enough?
11.19.2012 | Unregistered CommenterIanB
It is very odd that for a global sport all the major events (save one) are in the United States. It would not entirely surprise me if in the next 50 years, we were to see a shift in what is considered the major tournaments.

As to the Australian events, the top guy don't play much unless it's for appearance fees (or some other arrangement), and that's always been true. Jack, Arnie and Gary were certainly compensated for their appearances. More distressing is the lack of attendance by some of the better but not great Australian players, like Senden and Ogilvy. I have no clue why they didn't show. But it would seem to me getting them back should be the priority.
11.19.2012 | Unregistered Commenterelf
I love watching any of the golf from Australia. I don't need to see the very best players in the world. These are great courses and watching very good players compete on them is terrific.
11.19.2012 | Unregistered CommenterBrad
Ky, the Prez Cup was at Royal Melbourne just last year!

Ian, I thought the same thing about sustainability of the PGA Tour but damned if they don't keep I'm finding sponsors. Off the top of my head title sponsors have turned over about 40% in the last 3-4 years and the few tourneys that folded have ALL been replaced.

As for your second paragraph, is it your contention that bringing the PGA Championship to Australia every four years will somehow allow for more young Australian golfers to succeed in the pro ranks? I don't see the connection. Or is this simply a tourism exercise that allows Australia,to showcase some fine golf course architecture?
11.19.2012 | Unregistered CommenterDTF
"the few tourneys that folded have ALL been replaced. "

I have a hunch with absolutey no proof, but I suspect Mr. Finchem is using the deep pockets of the PGA Tour to "incentivize" new sponsors, probably even helping defray their costs. But how long will the PGA wallets last? Their retirement/pension plan is better than the ones that bankrupt GM and Chrysler!
11.19.2012 | Unregistered CommenterBobby D
A simplistic article, as it ignores the obvious - for whose benefit are tournaments held? For the players? No, it is for spectators and by extension the viewing public.

In that sense then, by definition it must be an enjoyable experience. Nice course, nice weather, a few beers and some decent golf.

The only way we would get one big event, is to hold it in a time of year when the other tours are closed, which means mid summer, and so stinking bloody hot.

As Perth tournament showed - far better to play it at a nice time of year, we all have a great time, enjoy the, golf, even if the field wqasnt top notch.
11.19.2012 | Unregistered CommenterB
Bobby D, there have definitely been situations where the tour dipped into the rainy day fund to help a struggling event for a year or two but if they don't get the situation cleaned up by then they are gone, no questions asked. I'm no fan of Finchem but I highly doubt he's subsidizing any of the new sponsors whatsoever.

As for the retirement funds, they are the best in the world....and it is my impression that they are fully funded defined contribution funds, the money is already there. I could be wrong, but that's my impression.

elf, there will never be another major in men's golf. Just not gonna happen...
11.19.2012 | Unregistered CommenterDTF
Pretty simple reason Ogilvy didn't play - because the Master is separated from the other 2 tournaments (See the quote Geoff used from Mark Hayes as to why)

Pga and Aus Open in back to back weeks makes it simpler for them to come back for.
11.19.2012 | Unregistered CommenterUnderTheChin
Why Don't we produce good young players?Slow play 6 hours on a championship course on a week end.Cost $60 plus to play a 18 hole course that's if they let a child under 10 walk the course if not another $40 for a bloody buggy.$160 for a dad and his son to play 18 holes.On a crap course a good one $120.You can play Rugby league like my son 8 for $120 a year uniform and training provided.Or buy 100 liters of petrol for there dirt bikes and ride all year.Up here in FNQ my son is the only member at our club under 15 so he is not allowed to play competitions as they say he has no one to go against.The Masters wasn't even on free to air tv last weekend.No t-shirts in 37 degree heat with 98% humidity.I am all for a dress code but you can look smart and not have long socks and collared shirts.
11.19.2012 | Unregistered CommenterKeith86

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