Who are Brandt Snedecker, Charlie Wi, Charles Howell III, Matt Jones, D.J. Trahan, and Paul Goydos? Give you a hint. They’re 54 to 59 on a list. Need another? The list is of “money leaders” thus far in 2010. They’ve each made over 1.1 million. That gives it away. They’re pro golfers, of course. Poor Tiger Woods. He is way down, 77, scratchings of $872, 086.25 No wonder he looks so unhappy.
And he does. How do I know? I watched quite a bit of the PGA championship last weekend. On my computer, no less. Yes, I am embarrassed. Can I blame it on the fog which, as Eliza said last night, “makes me forget to go outside?” No, because I watched the recent major at Pebble Beach as well when I was in Denver. I can tell you the winner.
What I can’t tell you is why my parents made the terrible oversight and didn’t groom me to be a golfer. Where does all the money come from? It’s not just golf. A .250 hitter makes 3 million per year. I haven’t bought anything with a swoosh in decades, nothing at all advertised on a cap or warm-up jacket. Clearly I wasn’t raised an economist, either.
(Somebody who was: Dr Pepper Snapple. This from the New York Times earlier in the week: “The Mott’s workers voted 250 to 5 to strike, walking out on May 23. They were furious about the company’s demands to cut their wages by about $3,000 a year, freeze pensions, end pensions for new hires, reduce the company’s 401(k) retirement contributions and increase employees’ costs for health care benefits. Dr Pepper Snapple said it was merely seeking to bring its benefits more in line with those of its other plants.” And this was after the company earned record profits.)
Absurd inequities aside, golf does have a compelling beauty. Those immaculate emerald undulations perched on seaside cliffs or suffocated in azaleas, the starry white ball soaring and falling with the imprimatur of destiny; it’s as poetic as a good Scotch. Only a killjoy would bring up the tons of herbicides and pesticides applied to reach such an idealized state of nature. But golf is addressing that, too. Also in the Times this week, an article about The Vineyard Golf Club on Martha’s Vineyard, the “only club thought to be completely organic in the United States.” The superintendent of maintenance, Jeff Carlson, is quoted, “When we started here, some of my peers thought this would be a dust bowl. I admit I wasn’t so sure it could be done myself. People said we were crazy.” Crazy? “To prevent fungal disease, crews go out daily at dawn using a long whip-like device that whisks condensation off the grass throughout the course’s 69 acres.” Do you suppose they’re called gardeners? But all in all, a noble idea, one I unequivocally and vocally endorse. If you are thinking about joining, as I am, the initiation fee is $350,000, with an annual fee of $12,000.
Quiz, part 2: What is Tiger Woods doing for sex these days?