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AT&T Pebble Beach Pro-Am vs. Saudi International? A close call

Readers of The First Call weigh in on whether PGA Tour players should support the long-standing Tour stop or take appearance money to play in Saudi Arabia

Saudi International 2022
Bryson DeChambeau was one of 21 players ranked among the world's top 50 who is played in the Asian Tour's PIF Saudi International.

I listened to what Pat Perez said a few days ago and understood why players would jump to play for more money, especially with some of it guaranteed. Nothing new here. Pro golfers have been doing this since the turn of the century. The concept of greed  and self interest by the players, PGA Tour (protecting their brand) and this new league (needs to start off well) all play a role here. The idea of being loyal to a tour or an event is not very strong anymore. We see this throughout the working world these days with the ever-increasing rate of job changing going on. Always looking for that next better opportunity. Just some thoughts.

Bob Oram
Blaine, Wash.

Does the PGA Tour have the courage: 
— To require players to participate in specified tour stops?
— To operate for the benefit of the members rather than the administrative insiders?
— Be the 501(c)(3) it purports to be, and donate a minimum of 65% of income to charity?

John Goldman
Needham, Mass.

Players should play the AT&T Pebble Beach Pro-Am. It has afforded them much in financial support in the past. There should be some sense of loyalty and respect for such a long-standing and historic tournament.

John W. Mitchell Jr.
New Bern, NC

Nope. A PGA Tour pro is really a 1099-form type of employee. He his own expenses, does get some on-site perks such as a car for the week and lunch free -- but that is about it. They aren't employees and if they don't play well, then no $$. 

Tom Powers
Bradenton, Fla.

What country did all those terrorists come from that took down the Twin Towers [on Sept. 11, 2001]? Who dismembered and killed the journalist [Jamal Khashoggi]. Answer to your question is so obvious

Michael J. Kirby
Schaumburg, Ill.

Yes, the tour players should be supporting the AT&T event this week. Going to Saudi Arabia to play in an event sponsored by a group trying to create a rival to the PGA Tour is disloyal. Blind greed.  

Rick Wright
Alamo, Texas

Nope. The PGA Tour has long advocated its position that players are independent contractors. Deal with it and be careful what you wish for. I’m sick and tired of these issues where the “powers” lose control due to bad planning and then the whining, finger pointing and blaming ensues.  

For what it’s worth, I don’t support the Saudi government and its bullying Middle East activities, but the PGA Tour has become offended at the notion that an upstart tour would not bend down at the feet of a ruler. 

It’s shameful that it’s all about money, but that’s how the game is played — he who has most, wins. Don’t blame the players.

Peter Croppo
Bayfield, Ontario

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It’s a free market system. Take the money if its offered, The AT&T Pebble Beach Pro-Am will always be strong no matter who plays, because of its setting. Most importantly, when the players start playing poorly, in golf it’s too bad, you are out of a job and nobody remembers your name.

Douglas Fraser
Ocean City, N.J.

Pebble Beach is the one golf tournament I do not watch because of the so-called celebrities playing. I want to watch golf, not a bunch of clowns showing off. If they are going to do a tournament like this, do it for a day or two early in the week without TV. I'll be watching real golf from Saudi Arabia this week.

Tom Schnurstein
Wheaton, Ill.

This is about greed. How can anyone support Saudi Arabia with its track record on murdering journalists and human rights. I will never purchase anything associated with Greg Norman again. Another hero falls because of greed.

Don Nagle
Oviedo, Fla.

Players should support AT&T Pebble Beach Pro-Am.

Heath Wassem
Mount Kisco, N.Y.

Spoiled millionaires. If winning millions is not sufficient enough to support the PGA Tour that made them, then well enough. The PGA Tour should take a hard line now. If the players wish to support this new tour, then their PGA Tour cards should be revoked. End of story. 

The Saudi regime is corrupt and is using this for illegitimate purposes. The PGA Tour may not be able to survive with the marquee players seeking richer pay days either.

Harold Macdonald   
Cathedral City, Calif.

Duh. I believe in freedom of choice and I should not be making this situation political, but it is. The Pebble Beach event is one that has helped "establish" golf and enable players to make a wonderful career. Additionally, the Saudi event is staged in a country with many values inconsistent with many of ours. The PGA Tour players should only participate there at a time when nothing is scheduled in the U.S. I'm disappointed in the golfers who have chosen money over principles.

Greg Schenkel
Indianapolis, Ind.

I enjoy Sunday morning golf on the East Coast from Europe and Asia. The better the fields, the more I watch. As a person who plays 50-60 rounds a year, I prefer to play on Sunday afternoons unless there is a major. PGA Tour golf with a wedge to every hole is getting more boring than ever. Almost unwatchable as 33 under par really doesn’t interest me. Also, the LPGA is turning into that. A bogey once in awhile or a little rough on some of these courses would be more interesting to the golf enthusiast, I believe. 

Jimmy O’Malley
Needham, Mass.

PGA Tour players are private contractors and have no moral obligation to support any one event. As a member of the PGA Tour there are minimum playing requirements, but beyond that players should be free to play when and where they choose. 

Reid Farrill
Toronto, Canada

Yes, I do think they should support the AT&T Pebble Beach Pro-Am. Sponsors will walk away from their sponsorship if they consistently do not get a quality field. Players and the PGA Tour need to figure out quickly how to infuse more money into the tour or players will leave. Bench warmers in other major sports make over $5 million a year, guaranteed, and may see little, if any, action. Maybe the tour should consider rewarding all who make "the show” a few hundred thousand.

Karl Braun
Cincinnati, Ohio

It is reprehensible to see wealthy athletes pretend that they are strictly athletes, and look the other way. But this hardly breaks new ground in the simplistic world of money and sports.

For instance, the Masters blatantly exercised racism for years, as well as gender bias, yet the powers that were there such as Bobby Jones or [Clifford] Roberts were not called out despite the fact that Jackie Robinson had broken the color barrier in 1947.

In addition, golfers such as Sam Snead, Ben Hogan, Arnold Palmer and on and on never took a stand, either out in public or behind the scenes to end the racist bias of golf. Brown vs. Board of Education in 1954 began the process of ending segregation, but no one of note in the golf world felt the need to follow suit.    

I remember reading an interview with Greg Norman a while back, where he indicated that he was hit very hard by COVID and was in danger of turning into a "long hauler" as he continued to suffer from a "foggy brain" syndrome.

I wonder if COVID has reduced his judgment to the point where he seems determined to permanently damage his reputation.

Ray Edger
Vancouver, Canada

I believe the PGA Tour players should be supporting the Tour rather than breaking away in joining Greg Norman’s tour. Sure, in the short term, they’ll make a bunch of money, but that’s not what I would rather see. Support the American tour. Blood money over there.

Tim Scott
Orland Park, Illinois 

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