Tuesday, October 28, 2014

Is the Ryder Cup About to Die?

Is the Ryder Cup dying?

It's a bit late for a rant against golf's biggest team event, I know, but this has been simmering for a couple of weeks.

And no, it has nothing to do with European domination and an American public who are losing interest in watching their team lose.

No, this is more serious. Remember the uproar when Tiger (and others) started suggesting that they should be paid for playing in the Ryder Cup? Outrage followed.

"You should feel privileged to represent your country... blah, blah, blah," was the basic premise that saw Tiger slink away with his tail between his legs.

But right now, today, I can see exactly why those Professionals might feel inclined to raise the issue again. It's the commercialisation of the event that completely excludes the players themselves. The figures for retail sales during Ryder Cup week were astounding... and is it any surprise when you had to pay £85 for a simple beanie hat. What was special about it... other than the Ryder Cup logo... absolutely nothing. (And if you think that's the worst of it, check out the official Ryder Cup Store here.) Then there are the ticket sales and the peripherals of food and drink. It adds up, and it adds up bloody fast. We're talking millions, here.

I know that the event has to make money (although it didn't achieve that until the mid-1980s), but it is   losing the run of itself. It has become a money-making machine and while 'greed is good' may be the driving force of any such global, commercial event, if the main protagonists are not going to be paid then discontent will surely fester. And, if such blatant profiteering continues, it won't just be the players who lose respect for the event, it will be the paying public too. £85 for a beanie... how totally, utterly insane.

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