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Monday, January 08, 2007

Watching Pros Play for Each Others' Money Would Be MONEY!!

Golf gets a lot of kudos for being a sport in which prize money (or salary) is not guaranteed. The players on the PGA Tour and all of the lesser tours have to qualify for each tournament, pay an entry fee, pay for their travel to the tournament, and then play well enough to make the cut. Otherwise, they slam their trunks on Friday afternoon with significantly lighter wallets.

I think the play-for-pay format is terrific. Aside from sponsorships, there are really no guarantees and no long-term deals. Signing bonuses just don't happen in golf, because each player is his own team. The players like to call themselves "independent contractors", and in a way, that's exactly what they are.

However, wouldn't it be more exciting if they were playing with their own money instead of the millions of dollars put up by the tournament sponsor?

My idea is to round up a bunch of hot-shot players (a field of 125 would be fine) and have them play with their own dough, much like us hackers do. That would be real pressure.

I haven't decided on a format, but they could all post their own cash and play a Calcutta, or they can set up a bracket like in the Match Play events and bet predetermined sums of money each round. As they move through the tournament, they would play for more of their own money.

When a sponsor ponies up $6 million for everyone to play for, it's like playing with house money. How cool would it be if they were staking themselves against the field? I think it would create huge interest from fans and would make for compelling television. They could play it in the Bahamas or Costa Rica where gambling isn't an obstacle.

Thoughts on how it would be set up?


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