13 Apr 2020

‘Winning not that important for golfers anymore’

A common topic that comes up with golf is that there’s too much money involved at the top echelons of the game and not enough lower down. These days players can earn ridiculous amounts of money without winning, which can change the approach of some players when they are in impressive positions in tournaments. 

On UAE golf coach Jamie McConnell’s YouTube channel this week, they hosted a live Q&A between Claude Harmon and his father Butch, who oversaw Tiger Woods’ rise from teen prodigy to global superstar as well as coaching other big stars such as Dustin Johnson and Rickie Fowler.

Claude asked Butch what he likes and dislikes most about the game. He loves the young prospects bursting onto the scene, stating: “The game is in the best place it’s ever been in terms of the amount of great young players we have coming through like Viktor Hovland, Matthew Wolff etc.”

However, it annoys him the way the winning mentality is disappearing from the top level of the sport.

“What I don’t like is that they make so much money without winning, whereas for the old-timers like me and my dad – winning was everything,” adds Butch Harmon. “There wasn’t that much money back in the old days. In my rookie year in 1969 the winner would get $120,000 and we couldn’t believe you could make that much.

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“Nowadays, these younger players make so much money without winning that winning isn’t that important. I’ve seen players down the stretch get into position and then all of a sudden they didn’t have a chance to win so were happy to make par, finish third and make $240,00 or something. Great players never think like that. They never think about the money because winning takes care of everything. The more you win, the more money you make.”

“In 2019 almost 100 players made over one million dollars so guys are making a tremendous amount without being a winner.”

So, it appears that golf is one of the only sports where winning isn’t everything.

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