Dirty Bloody Money
Pro golfers may love the game but there’s no arguing the fact that they play it for the money. As hackers like me know, their level of skill is of superhero caliber; I get nervous when a partner in the foursome is ahead of me to the side, they hit difficult rescue shots through narrow tunnels of spectators, without ever drawing blood with an errant shot.
The professional lifespan of the average pro isn’t long either. There are always young, talented and nerveless players rising up to take their cards, and staying on the tour for more than five years is a tough par to make. At that level of commitment to practice, training, and psychic strength, nobody can blame them for cashing in as early and often as they can.
Lately though some of the real tour winners have turned their backs on careers that have already rewarded them more handsomely than the average 50 workers combined. They have left the PGA Tour to scoop up guaranteed money in easy competition formats, and the source of this money doesn’t seem to bother them.
In a spectacular and disgusting example of “sports washing”, Saudi Arabia has launched their own tour, and while it looks to cost them several billion dollars, it looks to cost the golfers they have hired as laundry men their souls.
I could name names, I could even name the new “tour”, but let the Saudis get their own publicity, and as for the players, I’ve never claimed to be without sin. I can say unequivocally though that the Saudi money is blood and oil stained. While our national addiction to oil has made it necessary to deal with these pushers, the players joining up are at the top of their professions and already make fantastic bank…greed and laziness seem to be their motivations.
It’s easy to condemn the president for begging Saudi “prince” Mohhamad bin Salman to loosen the valves on oil production, but presidents, at least effective presidents, have to deal with reality. The sad reality of U.S. politics is that $5 gas puts Republicans back in power and any hope of climate action, voter rights, reproductive rights, and a fair shake from oligarchs in big pharma in the dumpster.
I wouldn’t be too confident in doing personal business with MBS and his underlings either, what with the power of bone saws to dispose of evidence. We the general public can respond to Saudi scorn for human rights, but our response involves actual financial pain or at least extra work and planning. We can cut our individual use of oil and oil products and if enough of us cut back far enough, the price will drop and MBS will lose some degree of power.
I doubt that the “sacrifice” it would take for top professional golfers to turn their backs on this Faustian bargain would be more painful than what their average fan faces at the pump every day, and that fan is already stretching a tight budget. Unless these golfers are insanely incompetent in handling their money that’s a pain they will never know.