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19th Hole

Symetra pro shares eye-opening detail about financial hardships on feeder tour

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Over the past few months, we have seen several social media posts from players currently playing at feeder tour level, with many highlighting the disparity between pay at the very top and the potential loss of taking part in development tours.

On New Years Day, six-time professional winner Meghan Maclaren took to Twitter to highlight her real-life example of life on the Symetra/development tours.

The 27-year-old is no stranger to posting her thoughts, with her regular blog an excellent insight into many things golf and beyond, but this posting set up an uninvited debate with the usual anonymous tweets interspersed with understandably supportive comments from her fellow ‘feeder’ players.

The initial comment was itself quite innocuous, detailing the importance of financial help throughout a career, even one with a couple of LET victories in the bank and a 2021 victory on the Symetra Tour, the main pathway to the LPGA.

In the two tweets, Maclaren thanks her sponsors and team for support, highlighting the ‘VERY unselfish coaches and next to no caddie all year.’

Prefacing the tweet with the comment ‘*not looking for sympathy or a debate about feeder tours, just thought interesting to share’ she makes note of the fact that even after a win, two top-10s and a pair of top-15 finishes she would have, without assistance, been looking at a LOSS on the season of around $31,000.

Replies were of contrasting natures. Many folks understood the point that was being made. Here we have a victorious player that finished 18th on the money list of the league just one below that of the big time, and winner of circa $60k in prize money that would, without help, be paying out for the privilege of playing.

Bradley Neil, formally a hugely promising European junior making his way through the grades, commented simply, ”Could not agree more! If it wasn’t down to the generosity of the team around us, we wouldn’t survive.” Thoughts turn to many players on the Outlaw Tours, EuroPro Tours and the rest that perhaps don’t get the chances to progress their undoubted talent because it simply costs too much, not that perhaps they are lacking the skills.

Of course, nobody will argue that Tiger, Phil et al. have brought countless millions to the PGA and ‘deserve’ to be rewarded, but as covered by the likes of Ryan French (@acaseofthegolf1) it is the mini and development tours that create the stories, that have the players so dedicated to ‘making it’ they sleep in camper vans overnight and work in stores at the end of each round. Perhaps too the players that might make the future as bright as it is now, and many that were almost certainly inspired to play by the likes of those at the top.

Maclaren, who said that, ‘(2021) Q series crushed me completely,’ and eventually finished just three shots from a card after eight gruelling rounds, wasn’t looking for sympathy. She simply thought it would be useful to know the costs behind the glamour.

Meghan’s regular blog highlights all these musings and gives an insight into life on the road, into psychology, self-belief and doubt, and simply, well, Meg Maclaren. It’s well worth a read https://megmaclaren.com/

 

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9 Comments

9 Comments

  1. Lee

    Jan 9, 2022 at 11:12 am

    Still comes off as whiny and entitled. Most Olympians make very little/nothing from their sport and have day jobs, despite dedicating a huge portion of their time and resources to the sport. Mini tours will never pay well because nobody cares and limited opportunity for the sponsors. If you read Sam Sneed, he describes winning his first British Open. He won $1500 or something and said he basically won no money after travel and expenses. If it was easy we’d all do it. Meghan, I suggest you start gambling on matches like Lee Trevino/Sam Sneed or win more tournaments.

  2. brian

    Jan 9, 2022 at 9:59 am

    And meanwhile, the PGA Tour is going to give Phil Mickelson $8m for some social media posts while he’s already earned over $40m this year in endorsements alone.

    • Jimmy Dore Jr

      Jan 10, 2022 at 11:15 am

      Phil earns that money because he generates more money for the tour and his sponsors than what he receives. Use your head. But keep on crying about injustice white knight.

  3. Mike

    Jan 8, 2022 at 9:31 am

    Thought I read another story recently w/ a similar theme. I get it…it’s a tough business to make money in unless you have exceptional talent. But it’s like that in every sport. Now there’s not often the personal financial investment you have to make as you do w/ golf. But everyone SHOULD know that at this point in time.

    So good luck to her, but if you’re not on the ‘big’ tour soon, reassess your career aspirations.

  4. Brandon

    Jan 8, 2022 at 8:32 am

    When I was younger I thought I was going to to play left field for the Giants and wide receiver for the Niners. Then reality hit and I had to get a real job to support myself.

  5. Vas

    Jan 7, 2022 at 10:13 am

    Man, and here I thought working 3 jobs during a pandemic was tough! Maybe a GoFundMe is in order?

  6. Jerry

    Jan 7, 2022 at 9:34 am

    It’s always been the born with a silver spoon game.

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19th Hole

‘Pretty warped stuff’ – Announcer blasts leader’s drop at PGA Championship

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Mito Pereira leads the 2022 PGA Championship through Saturday afternoon, but a free drop has been a source of controversy amongst announcers and fans.

On the ninth hole, Pereira hit a tee shot that drifted left into the rough area of the crosswalk, which fans traverse through for the event.

The Chilean was granted a free drop, which allowed him to drop in the fairway, and it’s fair to say not everyone was pleased with the ruling.

On Sky Sports, on-course announcer Wayne Riley described the decision as “pretty warped stuff”, with the Aussie saying on air:

“I can’t believe this drop. Where that ball is, he’s got to keep the flag in line. He’s not going backwards. That, to me is quite amazing..to be able to get it onto the fairway. That’s pretty warped stuff.”

Fellow commentator and winner on the European Tour, Nick Dougherty, declared the decision as a “monumental break”, and the reaction on Twitter was even more stinging:

Riley went on to say the ruling was “just one of those”, while Pereira went on to make bogey on the hole.

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19th Hole

Pro makes bogey at PGA Championship due to a mischievous squirrel 

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As far as bad breaks go at the PGA Championship this week, Richard Bland can safely say he suffered the worst.

The Englishman may not have been threatening to make the cut at Southern Hills, but he certainly wasn’t helped by lady luck after an unruly squirrel caused him to make a bogey on Friday.

A fan-taken video of the incident was given some context from Bland on Twitter, who explained:

“You know it’s not going to be your week when you play a good recovery shot from under the trees & this little fella gets in the way. To top it off. The ball rolls back off the green and don’t get up & down.”

Check it out below.

Unfortunately for Bland, he was unable to replace the ball from the point the squirrel had stopped it as the ball had not come to rest. Per the USGA rules:

“If your ball is moved by an outside influence, such as an animal or a spectator, there is no penalty to anyone and the ball must be replaced. When your ball in motion is accidentally deflected or stopped, there is no penalty and you will normally play the ball from wherever it lies.”

Bland is heading home early after finishing the week at 10 over par.

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19th Hole

‘I didn’t recognize him at first’ – Mickelson’s mother says ‘relaxed’ Lefty has a surprising new look

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Phil Mickelson isn’t defending his PGA Championship this week at Southern Hills, something which his old foe Tiger Woods described as “disappointing” in his pre-tournament press conference.

The 51-year-old has stepped away from the sport after receiving heavy backlash for his links to LIV Golf, whose Saudi backers he described as “scary…to deal with” while advising that they were a way of leveraging with the PGA Tour and their “obnoxious greed.”

In a phone interview this week with USA TODAY Sports, Mickelson’s mother, Mary, gave an update on her son, who is sporting a new look giving him the chance to go out and about without receiving too much attention.

“I didn’t recognize him at first. He had a little bit of a beard and mustache. I don’t ever remember him doing that before. Not too many people recognize him, so it’s been fun to be able to go out with him.”

Mary revealed that Lefty is “happy and relaxed”, spending most of his time in his Rancho Santa Fe, Calif, estate, which he leaves to watch his nephew play Little League baseball and his niece play lacrosse.

“I wish you could see him now. He’s relaxed, he laughs all the time. He’s not on the phone with people that are calling him for this and that, and please play in this tournament, and it’s hard when you have to say no, when you don’t have the time to spend.

But he has taken a lot of time with our family…Tim and Tina, his brother and sister, have mentioned that too. How happy he seems. How relaxed and comfortable. And if it means going through all of this … I’m happy for him.”

As for golf? Mary Mickelson says they don’t discuss the sport but that golf fans will see “a different person if” Phil decides to make a return.

“We don’t talk about [golf] very much. I know when he comes to visit, we’re always in the backyard putting and chipping and just playing around. I guess he’s getting out there. I really don’t know for sure.”

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