Michael Bamberger weighed in on the surpise vote by PGA Tour players to give the Jack Nicklaus Award to Rory McIlroy over Brooks Koepka, despite Koepka winning a major and nearly two others.
He seized on the possibility that players voted to validate the huge financial rewards of the Players and FedExCup.
But the Tour players, in voting for McIlroy over Koepka, were shunning history in favor of money. That’s their prerogative. They are professional golfers, after all. “Show me the money” works as well for them as it does for anybody else, if not better. “Follow the money” does, too, when trying to figure out their motivations.
The two biggest paydays on the Tour schedule are two Sundays owned by the PGA Tour: the final day of the Players Championship and the final day of the FedEx Cup. McIlroy earned $2.25 million at the former and $15 million at the latter.
What kind of message would the players be sending if they didn’t put their stamp on all that?
Perhaps because fans increasingly are uncomfortable with hearing what athletes make?
As you may recall, I was in the minority in not being taken aback by the FedExCup purse increase but heard from many who were uncomfortable with the amount. Given how much the PGA Tour does for charity and what athletes in other sports make, I believe golfers are a value at the current pay scale.
And it may just be that many agree, but so blatantly celebrating money over majors could expedite the queasiness some fans feel.
Here was the poll result of that post-FedExCup question about money, linked and screen captured.