Major money time

By Neil Connolly, in Sport · 07-06-2018 14:45:00 · 0 Comments
Major money time

Things are beginning to hot up for the 2018 golf season. The Rolex Series has held two of its eight events, which has catapulted some players into the spotlight of contending for the Race to Dubai Order of Merit.

The Major season kicks into gear next week at Shinnecock Hills for the US Open, then there is a flurry of events, all carrying huge purses, which will put the form guys into their Ryder Cup positions and eventually lead onto the final battle in Dubai.
Looking at the amount that the guys are playing for reminds me of a remark Nick Faldo made at the start of a documentary, ‘Chronicles of a Champion Golfer’. He was saying that back in the day, eighties to mid-nineties, that you had to win if you wanted to change the quality of your life and your children’s. If you wanted to be a superstar, you had to win Majors. This was back when the highest earner, prize money alone, in the world of golf was Tom Kite. He had amassed over eight million dollars at that time.
So, when Faldo commented that, “you only have to be on Tour for five minutes now,” to earn life changing money, and you see that next week they are going to play for a purse of $12 million, you can get his point. With Molinari in the past two weeks winning over €1.66 million, you can see just how much money is around. Things change, sometimes for the better, sometimes for the worse; however, having the guys and girls play for bigger prize money is not a bad thing, in my opinion.
Keeping the game relevant and interesting is the real trick. In this day and age, where there is so much competition for the viewers’ eyes, from ‘Game of Thrones’ to ‘The Crown’, terrestrial TV and other sports staying the same, will eventually ensure you will fade away. That will not be the issue regarding the big events, it is the small ones which suffer as the tried and tested names schedule in the main tournaments; hence why the Portugal Masters, at a €2 million prize fund, compared to the €7 million available per Rolex Series event, struggles to get the big names. They are resting and waiting for the next whale of a prize fund.

However, the real point of this article is with the bigger prize money comes higher levels of pressure. This means we will really get a good idea who has the stomach and the game for the bi-annual clash, the Ryder Cup, at the end of September. Or will we? Certainly we will see who is on form but, more poignantly, what they are capable of doing when they are on form in June, July and August. What I am meaning to put forward here is that being on form and playing with great confidence is fickle. You and I both know that one day this game can put you on top of the world and literally the next day you can feel as if you have only just taken the game up.
Imagine being selected for your stellar performance today and then in six weeks’ time being asked to replicate it on a different course. That is why the next few weeks of high pressure, big money golf is critical to our hopes for the Ryder Cup. The most consistent players, the ones who can ride a wave of form for the longest time we hope will come to the fore. This would ensure depth of quality, if they have been blooded in battle before even better.
Of course our Captain has four picks to even out the form issue, by being able to pick the players playing their best closer to the contest. The rest are selected from their position in the Race to Dubai and their position in the World Rankings. So you can see how the next couple of months are going to create the positions for two thirds of the team.
There is going to be some great golf played, the winners will be worthy, let’s just hope that the winners are European, are able to sustain form and able to compete in the Gladiatorial arena of the Ryder Cup. Or at least that they are able to perform better than the Americans.
Sit back and enjoy with fingers crossed!


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