Are PGA TOUR Players “Fat and Happy As Also-Rans?” Does That Explain The Ryder Cup Losses?

A sports editorial in The Scotsman suggests that PGA TOUR players, who can make a fortune and never win, are “fat and lazy also-rans.” The key paragraph:

Ah yes, money – the root of all mediocrity. Think on this little gem. Since the PGA Tour changed from 60 all-exempt players to 125, the US has won but four of 15 Ryder Cups. The biggest and wealthiest tour in golf is breeding a generation of “fat and happy” players who, generally speaking, feel no pressing financial need to win tournaments.

Not that the estimable Jim Furyk is either fat or (outwardly) happy on the course, but the former US Open champion played at Gleneagles in his ninth Ryder Cup as his side’s highest-ranked player – having last won an event as many as four years before. The conclusion is clear. For too many of Uncle Sam’s preening and pampered nephews, finishing eighth every week provides a level of comfort and complacency that far outweighs greater ambition.

Call it the Woods Effect In Reverse. If winning meant Tiger-like (or Vijay-like) devotion to training and practice, perhaps it is not worth the effort. Finishing in the top twenty or thirty on a regular basis nets you a nice house in Florida, trips around the world, college educations for your kids, nice toys … etc. The new money on the PGA TOUR has actually encouraged mediocrity.

I’ll take my usual shot at Tiger and his legacy at this point. I have long contended that one reason he has racked up so many wins is that—for most of his career—he has not faced the level of competition that confronted Jack Nicklaus. If makes sense if viewed in this context. He has benefited from the complacency generated by his own success.

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