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Golf: Mayfair’s Millions

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Stan Sutherland
Stan Sutherland

“Billy Mayfair. Remember him? You should. He's the only person to beat Tiger Woods in a playoff in a PGA Tour event (1998 Nissan Open) and his career tour earnings (nearly $20 million) are probably enough to buy a chain of islands somewhere….”

Alex Meyer’s revelation about Billy Mayfair’s tour earnings which includes a $250,800 cheque for recently coming fourth at Harbour Town came as something as a surprise.

Sure I remember Billy, he’s been around for a long time. Long before you got $250,800 for coming fourth on a regular tour event and provides further evidence of how much the pros can make for just being there on the final day when they hand out the cheques.

Given that there’s so much money to be made from playing even mediocre golf it’s understandable that players play so much slower.

David Barrett writes, “Have you noticed that discussions between PGA Tour players and their caddies seem to be getting longer and longer?”And continues, “Now a growing number of players seemingly will not hit a shot until they have fully discussed every possible variable with their caddie: yardage to the flag, yardage past the flag (and/or short of it), yardage from the flag to the closest side of the green, yardage to a certain shelf on the green, yardage over a certain bunker, yardage to where they want to land the ball, wind strength, wind direction, wind variability, shot shape, whether to swing hard or easy, level of risk, what kind of putt it is from various parts of the green, similar shots they have played on another hole—and that’s just on a routine approach shot. If they are playing out of trouble or deciding whether to go at a par five in two, there are whole new categories for discussion.”

Enough’s enough but what really caught my attention on caddies, characters and calculating distances, “…was the fact that, "Hogan, on the other hand, had excellent eyesight (that’s not why he was called “The Hawk,” but it could have been). A Philadelphia newspaper reported that before the 1950 Open Hogan told the president of Merion Golf Club that his course was excellent, but the yardage on the scorecard was off. About a decade later, Merion re-measured the course and ended up with lower yardages on nearly every hole, so Hogan was right.”

And then there’s David’s comments about Ben’s arch rival. “I found an article about Sam Snead from 1950 saying that one reason he didn’t win as many tournaments as he should have was that he had a lousy sense of distance and often mis-clubbed.”

David concludes, “The old expression that the caddie’s job is to “show up, keep up, and shut up” is no longer true. Now the player wants to know—often in great detail—what they caddie thinks.”

Here’s the link to Alex and to David

Quote of the Day
“Woods single-handedly changed the calculus of professional golf, enabling the PGA Tour to increase purses to the point where 104 players earned more than $1 million in prize money in 2008” – Dave Seanor at Yahoo Sports

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