Connect with us

Opinion & Analysis

The $100 Million Man: Tiger’s power color is green

Published

on


By Zak Kozuchowski

GolfWRX Managing Editor

Tiger Woods recently became the first player in PGA Tour history to surpass the $100 million mark in career on-course earnings.

When asked how it felt to be golf’s first $100 million man at Wednesday’s press conference before the BMW Championship, Woods tried to downplay his earnings, saying that he was lucky to “come along at the right time.”

“We’ve had purse increases,” Woods said. “We’ve had a lot of things go our way. I’ve won some tournaments, yes, but as I said last week, Sam Snead won more tournaments than I did, and obviously he didn’t make the money that I did, just because it was a different era. I happened to come along at the right time when TV was booming and our commissioner did some fantastic deals with TV, and our purses just leapt by a lot. I think that all that said, I’m not opposed to it; put it that way.”

But it wasn’t solely luck or the Tour’s shrewd business deals that resulted in Woods playing in an era where golfers earned huge paychecks subsidized by corporate sponsorships and television deals. Woods was the main force behind golf’s big money era.

Sure, Jack Nicklaus won more majors than Tiger has thus far in his career, and Sam Snead won more tournaments in his career than Tiger has. But no player has been more important to golf’s global impact as Tiger Woods, who has not only been the most popular golfer in the world for most of his career, but also one of the most popular athletes in the world.

In golf, players drive for show and putt for dough. But Woods proved to players that they can drive and do tons of other things for dough, too. His pre-scandal endorsement contracts with General Motors, General Mills, American Express, Gillette, PepsiCo, Tag Heuer, Accenture and Upper Deck, along with his current endorsers: Nike, EA Sports, Rolex, Vantelin Kowa and Fuse Science mean that his on-course earnings are just a fraction of his total career earnings. Only Woods and his accountants know the real figures, but many suspect that Woods had earned over $1 billion off the course in his career.

Many people who follow sports like to say that golfers aren’t athletes, but Woods made his fortune partly off the premise that he was an athlete. His swing speed, physique and unrivaled dominance fascinated not just the golf world, but the entire world of sports. Woods is the modern day Arnold Palmer, bringing golf to the masses, only on a much larger scale and on a much larger stage.

Palmer was golf’s most marketable player prior to Woods for five reasons: he was good looking, he was from a humble background, he had tremendous talent, he liked taking risks and he wore his emotions on his sleeve. Palmer’s legacy is the reason he was still able to rake in $36 million of the course in endorsements in 2011, 58 years after his last major championship victory.

Woods shares all of Palmer’s traits, only he is more talented and more emotional. As a result of the scandal, he’s also become more human. Despite Woods’ off the course problems, expect him to be thought of in the same way that Palmer is now, even after his swing slows and his hair grays. Sure, we’ll always remember Woods’ crash. But we will recall more vividly the fields he demolished and the impossible shots he pulled off under pressure.

Click here for more discussion in the “Tour Talk” forum.

You can follow Zak on Twitter @ZakKoz and GolfWRX @GolfWRX.

Your Reaction?
  • 0
  • LEGIT0
  • WOW0
  • LOL1
  • IDHT0
  • FLOP0
  • OB0
  • SHANK0

Click to comment

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

Podcasts

The Gear Dive: TrackMan’s Tour Operations Manager Lance Vinson Part 1 of 2

Published

on

In this episode of The Gear Dive brought to you by Titleist, Johnny chats with TrackMans Lance Vinson on an all things TrackMan and its presence on Tour. It’s such a deep dive that they needed two shows to cover it all.

Check out the full podcast on SoundCloud below, or click here to listen on iTunes or here to listen on Spotify.

Want more GolfWRX Radio? Check out our other shows (and the full archives for this show) below. 

Your Reaction?
  • 3
  • LEGIT0
  • WOW0
  • LOL0
  • IDHT0
  • FLOP0
  • OB0
  • SHANK2

Continue Reading

Opinion & Analysis

An open letter to golf

Published

on

Dear golf,

I know it has been some time since we last spoke, but I need you to know I miss you, and I can’t wait to see you again.

It was just a few months ago I walked crowded isles, stood shoulder to shoulder, and talked endlessly with likeminded individuals about you and your promising future in 2020 at the PGA Show. At that time, the biggest concern in my life was whether I had packed the perfect dress-to-casual pant ratio and enough polos to get through the mayhem of six days in Orlando. Oh, how the times have changed.

On a professional level, what started with the LPGA Tour a few weeks prior progressed quickly at The Players Championship, when you ground to a complete halt within days. As much as it was a tough decision, it was the right decision, and I admire the judgment made by your leaders. Soon after, outside of the professional ranks followed suit and courses everywhere began shutting doors and asked golfers to keep away.

This is the right decision. For now and for the foreseeable future, as much as I don’t like it, I understand how important it is we let experienced health medical professionals make choices and craft policies for the wellbeing of people everywhere. Although, judging by the indoor short game trickery I have witnessed over the last 10 days, handicaps could be dropping when you finally return.

As a game, you are over 200 years old. You have survived pandemics, wars, depression, drought, and everything else that has been thrown at you. Much like the human spirit, you will continue on thanks to the stories and experiences others passed down and enjoyed.

I know you will survive because I also plan on surviving. As long as there are people willing to tend to your grounds and maintain your existence, I will also exist ready to take on your challenge.

When you are able to return in full, I will be here.

Sincerely,

Ryan Barath (on behalf of golfers everywhere)

 

Your Reaction?
  • 12
  • LEGIT1
  • WOW1
  • LOL3
  • IDHT0
  • FLOP1
  • OB1
  • SHANK8

Continue Reading

Opinion & Analysis

The Wedge Guy: Improving your short iron and wedge impact

Published

on

One of my most appreciated aspects of this nearly 40 years in the golf equipment industry is the practically endless stream of “ah ha” moments that I have experienced. One that I want to share with you today will–I hope–give you a similar “ah ha moment” and help you improve your ball striking with your high lofted short irons and wedges.

As I was growing up, we always heard the phrase, “thin to win” anytime we hit an iron shot a little on the skinny side (not a complete skull, mind you). When you caught that short iron or wedge shot a bit thin, it seemed you always got added distance, a lower trajectory and plenty of spin. It was in a testing session back in the early 2000s when this observation met with some prior learning, hence the “ah ha moment” for me.

I was in Fredericksburg, Virginia, testing some wedge prototypes with a fitter there who was one of the first to have a TrackMan to measure shot data. I had hit about two dozen full pitching wedges for him to get a base of data for me to work from. The average distance was 114 yards, with my typical higher ball flight than I like, generating an average of about 7,000 rpms of spin. What I noticed, however, was those few shots that I hit thin were launching noticeably lower, flying further and had considerably more spin. Hmmm.

So, I then started to intentionally try to pick the ball off the turf, my swing thought being to actually try to almost “blade” the shot. As I began to somewhat “perfect” this, I saw trajectories come down to where I’d really like them, distance increased to 118-120 and spin rates actually increased to about 8,000 rpms! I was taking no divot, or just brushing the grass after impact, but producing outstanding spin. On my very best couple of swings, distance with my pitching wedge was 120-122 with almost 10,000 rpms of spin! And a great trajectory.

So, I began to put two and two together, drawing on the lessons about gear effect that I had learned back in the 1980s when working with Joe Powell in the marketing of his awesome persimmon drivers. You all know that gear effect is what makes a heel hit curve/fade back toward the centerline, and a heel hit curves/draws back as well. The “ah ha” moment was realizing that this gear effect also worked vertically, so shots hit that low on the face “had no choice” but to fly lower, and take on more spin.

I had always noticed that tour players’ and better amateurs’ face wear pattern was much lower on the face than that of recreational golfers I had observed, so this helped explain the quality of ball flight and spin these elite players get with their wedges and short irons.

I share this with you because I know we all often misinterpret the snippets of advice we get from friends and other instructional content that is out there. To me, one of the most damaging is “hit down on the ball”. That is a relative truth, of course, but in my observation it has too many golfers attacking the ball with their short irons and wedges with a very steep angle of attack and gouging huge divots. The facts are that if the club is moving only slightly downward at impact, you will get the spin you want, and if the clubhead is moving on a rather shallow path, you will get a more direct blow to the back of the ball, better trajectory, more distance and improved spin. Besides, shallow divots are easier on the hands and joints.

If this is interesting to you, I suggest you go to the range and actually try to blade some wedge shots until you somewhat groove this shallower path through impact and a lower impact point on your clubface. As you learn to do this, you will be able to zero in on the proper impact that produces a very shallow divot, and a great looking shot.

[TIP: If you will focus on the front edge of the ball – the side closest to the target – it will help you achieve this kind of impact.]

It will take some time, but I believe this little “experiment” will give the same kind of “ah ha moment” it gave me.

Your Reaction?
  • 172
  • LEGIT28
  • WOW4
  • LOL5
  • IDHT2
  • FLOP1
  • OB3
  • SHANK14

Continue Reading

WITB

Facebook

Trending