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PGA Tour Officials Working Kapalua Without A Contract

Rex Hoggard reports that negotiations broke down between the PGA Tour and its union-affiliated rules officials and this week the guys who run the tournaments will be working without a contract.

“We’re operating without an agreement as of Dec. 31st. They are (in Hawaii) right now and unless the Tour says otherwise they are going to work,” said Christian Dennie, an attorney with Fort Worth, Texas-based Barlow Garsek & Simon who represents the officials’ union. “These guys really take their job seriously and we’re going to try and help them as much as they can.”

“Like we do with other negotiations we don’t comment on the status of those discussions,” said Ty Votaw, the PGA Tour’s executive vice president of communication and international affairs.

Hoggard also notes where the PGA Tour officials fall on the pay scale and they are well below colleagues in other sports. And while most people think they just sit in carts all day, they do a little bit of everything to ensure that tournaments go off without a hitch.

It's pretty amazing that a tour which lavishes absurd pay on an army of eminently replaceable vice presidents would nickel-and-dime the people who run their tournaments. Well, amazing, but considering the commissioner also laid low-level people off while not touching bloated executive pay? Not really that amazing.

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Reader Comments (44)

When I played, our officials were phenomenal. In many cases, the TOUR has not used this
valuable resource effectively. In particular, the pace of play problem. Our officials know
the turtles, and know the hares. If the TOUR gave the officials an effective tool to enforce pace of play,
which they could provide if just asked btw, these guys could get it done.
All too often in professional sports, the officials get in the way of the game. PGA Tour officials do a great
job in NOT being the focus virtually all the time.
01.3.2013 | Unregistered CommenterPat Burke
I used to play on Tour and after I stopped I started doing some reffing.
My first event was a real eye-opener!
I couldn't believe the long hours they work and their skills are fantastic.Pay them a decent wage!
01.3.2013 | Unregistered Commenterchico
The vast majority of those involved in the game have no idea what goes into running an event. Pat and Chico are spot on when it comes to understanding how good these guys are. I am entering my 36th year of officiating and although I don't operate on as big a stage as Mark, Slugger, John and the rest of the Tour Field staff , I can fully appreciate what it is to get up every morning at 4am , on the course before daylight setting tee markers, checking hole locations, inspecting the course for any overnight damage and about 100 other scenarios that the public never thinks of. You might get back to your hotel room by 8pm if you're lucky.These guys work hard and strive for perfection and fair competition for the players. Go out and mark a course when its 95 degrees out and humid for 8 hours prior to an event. The OB ,the hazards and GUR must be defined correctly. Your hole locations must be competitive AND fair. What's the weather going to give us,?do we have wind today and from what direction? Will it rain?Threat of thunderstorms? Do we need to change planned tee and hole locations? Write your local rule sheets and it HAS to be spot on word perfect. I can name hundreds of scenarios that can crop up that must be dealt with correctly.
C'MON Mr. Finchem. Pay these guys what they are worth.
I'll tell you this and I hope my peers feel the same way. If there is a lockout,and the Tour calls me and asks me to fill in--No thank you, I support the Tour officials in their negotiations for a fair deal.
01.3.2013 | Unregistered Commenterpete blaisdell
No, no, no! The value of the PGA TOUR lies in the money taken out of the non-profit system by Tim Finchem and his buddies at the top! They are the job creators, the barely understood geniuses. The sponsors who pay for the TOUR? The workers who make the TOUR happen? The legions of volunteers (who actually pay for the privilege) without whose unpaid labor the TOUR could not exist in its present form? Parasites, all. If we are not nice to Tim and his 37 vice-presidents they might decide to go Galt on us, and then where would we be? What would we do with that outsized cheap Addison Mizner knock off in PVB, with or without the Blue Velvet Room? Where would Carl Petterson be? The mind reels.
01.3.2013 | Unregistered CommenterKLG
My experience indicates that any PGA Tour official ,who is back in his hotel room by 8pm, has not had dinner. A mutually exclusive situation.

01.3.2013 | Unregistered CommenterDTF
If the PGA TOUR were to go away, I think golf would still be fine.

Might be nice to have a few majors and a few invitationals, but otherwise I would not miss it.

I'd still play golf. I'd still buy golf balls and equipment, blindly trusting my own opinions of the same.
01.3.2013 | Unregistered Commenterjstiles
I hope they walk out during the middle of a bastard Finchem
01.3.2013 | Unregistered Commenterchicago pt
All posts worthy of thought- one only can hope Tight-ass Tim rads this, assuming, he can read anything other than his 4 syllable worded double speak podium drivels....

Ky, well done!

Pete- what do you do now, if you don't mind me asking?

I say the volunteers should stand by these guys, if there is a walk out. They are also pawns in Tim's screw job.

Where is the IRS; I know there was some investigating of the non profit designation a couple yeas back.
01.3.2013 | Unregistered Commenterdigsouth
So many people are saying they are underpaid, but do you really know how much they get paid and their per diem structure??? I don't know exactly how much they make, but I've heard the pay is substantial and the per diems and benefits are great. They also do not work a full 50 weeks either.

I'm not against a pay raise for them, I'm more impartial to this issue.

I can see why the PGA Tour is hesitant because they are replaceable. There are many very qualified Rules Officials around the country that would love the job at their current pay rates. It would take a little time to get the respect from the players, but little would change to the course setup and rulings being made.
01.3.2013 | Unregistered CommenterFLGolfer
Some interesting points you raise there FLGolfer. I'm going to attempt do a little homework on the pay structure at the PGA Tour and hopefully post a synopsis that includes a reasonable level of detail -- to FLGolfer's point, everything is relative.
01.3.2013 | Unregistered CommenterDTF
I disagree-Fl.
I have worked on many tours all over Europe and at the USPGA and the full-time guys on the tour are the best by a good margin.
Setting up courses for tour events is not easy either.They would be very hard to replace adequately.
They are not badly paid-but they are the best in the world at their job and should be well rewarded.They may not work as many weeks as normal but their total hours worked is more than most.
01.3.2013 | Unregistered Commenterchico
They have some info on officials pay over at.

So the guy who could make a decision that effects the win in a million dollar for the winner tournament, is only worth a little over $100,000 a year.
Seems a lot low for that type of responsibility.
Tim Finchem and his cohorts blow.
01.3.2013 | Unregistered Commenterqrispy2
one would think the NFL's experience would prevent this stuff from happeining.
01.3.2013 | Unregistered Commentersmails
I was astonished to learn that these officials only make $100K per year. In this day and age that is slave wages...especially compared to Timmy and his cronies.
Anyone who has worked tournaments as an official can certainly understand the long days that they put in.
Someone mentioned that there are lots of "rules guys" that would gladly work for that money. I'm sure there are. But there were a bunch that worked some of the NFL games and how did that work out.
Rules officials don't just ride around in carts enjoying the golf. They do far more.
Try giving a player a tough ruling with which he doesn't agree and you probably earn your income. Correct rulings are not always appreciated. Ask Carl Peterson.
01.3.2013 | Unregistered CommenterStanley Thompson
Number one rule with Unions, any organization that has one earned it for past behavior. only 100k and life on the road seems even worse than being a club pro in the 21st century.
01.3.2013 | Unregistered CommenterPABoy
Does anyone want to bet me that FL Golfer works for the PGA Tour? Guaranteed they work within the Ivory Tower!
01.3.2013 | Unregistered CommenterTFB
Some stuff from the 2010 form-990 which covered the 2010 calendar and fiscal year...

1 TIMOTHY FINCHEM Commissioner 5,227,497
2 THOMAS WADE Exec VP Marketing 1,846,398
3 CHARLES ZINK Co-Chief Operating Officer 1,689,249
4 EDWARD MOORHOUSE Co-Chief Operating Officer 1,688,920
5 RONALD PRICE Exec VP/Financial 1,334,891
7 THOMAS PERRY SVP Human Resources 1,313,939
8 DAVID PILLSBURY President GCP & Champ Mgmt 1,009,107
9 SID WILSON Former VP Player Relations 1,002,440
10 TY VOTAW Exec VP Communications 997,575
11 GILBERT KERR SVP Broadcasting 868,622
12 RICHARD GEORGE Chief of Operations 866,696
13 MICHAEL BODNEY SVP Presidents Cup 754,639
14 WORTH CALFEE President Nationwide Tour 691,059
15 RICHARD ANDERSON Exec VP Television 681,710
16 JACK WHITE Director ShotLink 618,236
17 MICHAEL STEVENS President Champions Tour 525,637
18 TIMOTHY CROSBY Dir Tourn Bus Affirs 430,477
19 LEONARD BROWN SVP/GenCounsel/AsstSec 337,975

There were 20 people for whom compensation details were disclosed, 19 listed above (20th was only there for partial year and total comp was less than $100k).....sorted by comp level, they were listed more-so by title in the the 990.

The top-10 on that list collectively pulled down $17,432,974. The next-9 collectively pulled down $5,775,051.

All together the Group-of-19 collected $23,208,025.

There are a few folks on this site hung up on the proverbial "1%" terminology that's thrown around like water these days, all of them are in the club.

(to be cont.)
01.3.2013 | Unregistered CommenterDTF
But the charities....think of the children.
01.3.2013 | Unregistered Commenterdigsouth
The average of the top-10 is $1,743,297. The average of all 19 is $1,221,475. Pretty healthy numbers there.

It should be noted that a number of the people on that list are no longer with the PGA Tour but I suspect the comp structure for the top-19 in 2013 will look similar.

Here's a little tidbit from the notes:

"In limited cases listed TOUR employees may utilize charter or first class travel for business based upon security concerns, privacy concerns, timing concerns, and length of trip. Additionally, in limited situations spouses of officers or key employees travel with the listed employee for business purposes In these situations , the value of the spousal travel is reported as taxable income to the employee. All listed employees were provided access to health or social facilities and any personal use is reported as taxable income to the employee."

My observations would be, (i) betcha Finchem hasn't seen the inside of a commercial jet in a decade plus, (ii) if #17 and above ever flew coach I'd be shocked, (iii) betcha comp is "grossed up" to also provide for the tax liability associated with the travel benefit, and (iv) my experience is that the "health and social facilities" clause in plain English means "we are paying country club dues for most of these guys", and again I'd suspect there's a gross-up on income to cover the associated tax liability.

(to be cont.)

PS...union negotiators, hope you are hammering for 1st class travel for the officials! (maybe they already have it?)
01.3.2013 | Unregistered CommenterDTF
Another longer snippet from the notes:


Again, my observations, (i) not a single player on the Comp Committee? Are you @#*!&$ kidding me?!? (ii) The Tour does not disclose who is actually on the Comp Committee (there are only 4 independent directors total) but I'd place a solid wager that both Ken Thompson and John McCoy are on it, both flew their respective publicly traded banks straight into the ground (Wachovia and Bank One), if I'm a player those aren't they guys I want watching the hen-house. (iii) You're including "taxable" organizations in the comp set? Why? The Tour is a non-profit. The reason why is they need some tax-paying firms to get the pay levels up. (iv) The "we use comp consultants" is strictly a CYA move. My Dad is a member of a club where the manager has, managed, to get his comp level up 50% over that of other local GM's, an absurd level of pay for what this guy does....yup, the board cites "comp consultants". (v) My overall reaction is that this is cronyism at its finest!

(to be cont....sorry)
01.3.2013 | Unregistered CommenterDTF
In 2010 the PGA Tour has $897,204,399 of revenues.

In 2010 the PGA Tour paid $157,481 in federal for every $100 of revenue at the PGA Tour the govt collected $0.00018

In 2010 the Group-of-19 collected $23,208, for every $100 of revenue the Group-of-19 collected $2.59.

At the end of 2010 the PGA Tour Player Retirement Plans had a balance of $655,422,963, how that's divvied up I don't know.

I could go on forever...

...bottom line is there sure appears to be a ton of dough floating around Ponte Vedra and let's hope some of it finds it's way to the officials because when one thinks of "key men" relative to an organization they surely have to be right at the top of the list -- they make the events go.
01.3.2013 | Unregistered CommenterDTF should be noted that these highly paid people are personally paying healthy tax bills on the federal side. Luckily for them they reside in Fla where there is no personal income tax!
01.3.2013 | Unregistered CommenterDTF
Last set of numbers, I promise!

The Tour made cash grants to hundreds of charitable organizations, and are a select few that kind of jumped out at me. Make of it what you will....

City of Doral (FL) 45,000
Museum of Natural History (NY) 15,000
Dade Amateur Golf Association 153,826
Davis Love III Foundation 205,000
Els for Autism 25,000
First Tee NY/Bronx 246,824
Jack Nicklaus Museum 30,000
Jacksonville Country Day School 8,500
Jacksonville Zoo 91,825
John Cook Family Foundation 17,500
Lehman Family Foundation 100,000
LA Jr. Chamber of Commerce Foundation 1,225,000
Partnership for Clean Competition Research (DC) 100,000
Tiger Woods Charity Events (MA) 247,529
Town of Mansfield (MA) 42,500
Town of Norton (MA) 32,500
William J. Clinton Foundation 37,500
World Golf Foundation 7,738,208
01.3.2013 | Unregistered CommenterDTF
Good to hear from you. It was 7 below up here in my little corner of NH yesterday so I wasn't on the range at Bretwood hitting 2 irons. I do a lot of reading in the winter on golf, politics, biographies (reading George Marshall right now) and watching alot of NFL football and spending time with my grandkids.
Come spring, I start doing some officiating but not as much as I used to. Putting my schedule together right now. USGA qualifiers, NCAA Championship, maybe some invites to USGA Championships , local events, conduct some rules seminars at some courses in New England, do some editing for a major golf weekly, do some Junior clinics on rules and ediquette(I really enjoy these) and field emails and phone calls on rules from around the planet. I don't do as much as I used to due to medical problems but I keep my hand in.
I've rode shotgun with some of the tour officials at PGA Tour events in the last 30 years and they are just a great bunch of guys. Jack Tuthill, Pete Sesso, Glen Tait, Frank Cavenaugh (Frank was alot of fun), George Boutell , Mark, Slugger, John Brendle (the best!!), Steve Carman is excellant.
Any person who has a real interest in rules and administration should pay attention how these gentlemen conduct themselves on the course and off. Finchem and crew are fortunate to have them.There is so much more to their jobs than people realize.

I hope they get the deal they deserve. You want to keep good people? You give them the pay and retirement deal equal to the value of their service ans expertise.
01.4.2013 | Unregistered Commenterpete blaisdell
Del: 990 MVP. Partnership for Clean Competition Research (DC)? Really?

FLGolfer seems to have wandered in from the chat room where teachers are bashed because they only work "part time."
01.4.2013 | Unregistered CommenterKLG
Ky, wondered if anyone would notice that one ;). Gotta have the necessary ammo to ban competitive threats like, uh , Doug Barron! Els for Autism only got 25% of what the clean competition people received. DL3's foundation gave $100k to the local private school, Frederica Academy.
01.4.2013 | Unregistered CommenterDTF
World Golf Foundation hmmmmmmmmm
Who has their hands in that? Ponte Vedre maybe?
01.4.2013 | Unregistered CommenterPat Burke
PB, according to the 2010 form-990 filed by the Tour, The World Golf Foundation was supported to the tune of $13,481,134. As best I can tell this is far and away more that any other organization received, like 10 times more, and likely in excess of 100 times more the average -- so yes, The World Golf Foundation sure appears to be the leader in the clubhouse in securing funds from Ponte Vedra.

The $13 million was broken down as $7,738,208 of direct cash contribution, and $5,742,926 on "non-cash" support. The non-cash portion was further described as "public service announcements"....looks like the Tour was giving them commercials during various telecasts.

The 2010 form-990 can be accessed here:

990s (dot) foundationcenter (dot) org/990_pdf_archive/520/520999206/520999206_201012_990O (dot) pdf

The World Golf stuff is on page 48.

Anyone that's running a golf related charity or charity in general and not hitting up the PGA Tour is missing a key potential funding source!
01.4.2013 | Unregistered CommenterDTF
@Del: Inside baseball, but don't get me started on Frederica Academy. I was present at the creation and it was founded for precisely the same reason behind most of the private schools in my neck of the woods. IIRC, Bill III is a graduate. Sea Island Company used to be a(the?) primary benefactor of FA. I guess DLIII is taking up the slack until Lexie graduates. DLIV is on his way to play golf at Alabama if his costume at the McGladrey was any indication.
01.4.2013 | Unregistered CommenterKLG
Heck, maybe I'll go look at their 990 ;)
01.4.2013 | Unregistered CommenterDTF
Today's starting event in Hawaii is a prime example of why those PGA Tour officials deserve the higher pay due the by the Tour! Look at Jon Brendle and other officials out there like drowning rats! Where is TF? Cozy in the clubhouse if he is even there!
01.4.2013 | Unregistered CommenterProGolfer69
Right NOW would be a very interesting time for the officials to walk off the job!
01.4.2013 | Unregistered CommenterDTF
Dammit Del, you stole my line!

Great minds, etc.

They should do it, or wait until a highly viewed event. They are severely underpaid, and the money the CEIEIO's are skimming is-well-probably illegal, given the ''non- profit''
01.4.2013 | Unregistered Commenterdigsouth

Thanks for the nice post.

WOW, it is COLD there! I have the fireplace going with a blustery 40 * outside, so I guess I'm pretty soft.

If you keep up with Shack, and I know you do, then you know I am the ''rules complainer guy'', so nothing personal but GD, the rules need to be revised, I mean REALLY revised. This 30 rules or so that is thrown out there is a joke, and ou, better than anyone know that even with a written clearly worded rule, there are constant opposite interpretations, and that is just not right. It is a simple game. Sad it has become all lawyered up in the last 100 years.

Stay warm! Keep up the great work!


PS: was DJ in a bunker in your opinion? That area was outside the bunker line IMO. You say ? I'm just trying to instill a touch of chaos, as requested.
01.4.2013 | Unregistered Commenterdigsouth
Tim Grinchum has flown from Ponte Vedra to Valdosta GA for Nationwide Tour policy board meetings a few times. A couple hours in a car each way is beneath him, besides, he has to get back for his favourite TV show, CRIBS!
01.5.2013 | Unregistered CommenterFriendly Sky's

That Valdosta related info is just unreal -- what a glutton.
01.5.2013 | Unregistered CommenterDTF
Did someone mention 409A?
01.6.2013 | Unregistered Commenter409A

I think that's in the numbers posted above. If you think otherwise would be interested in your take.

(pretty sure he's referring to a deferred comp mechanism used by some)
01.7.2013 | Unregistered CommenterDTF
"Michael, we're bigger than US Steel"
01.7.2013 | Unregistered CommenterHyman Roth
KLG, He's already there although no PT yet(Dru at Alabama). Some unbelievable information. I thought the John Cook, Lehman Family, DLIII foundation gifts were very revealing(and TW). Think Davis would ever vote against anything TF wants? Sounds like a conflict.
01.7.2013 | Unregistered Commenterol Harv

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