Rory Says Tour Players should be able to compete in Saudi Arabia

Here is Rory’s quote: “I think we’re independent contractors and we should be able to play where we want to play,” the Northern Irishman said. “So in my opinion I think the Tour should grant releases. It’s an Asian Tour event, it’s an event that has official golf world rankings.

He’s leaving out a couple of important parts. First, it’s not just one tournament, they want to build a competing Tour. Second, the top 125 or so players all make insane amounts of cash (like $1M annually), plus endorsements. I mean for me, it wasn’t too long ago Curtis Strange topped the list at $1M and it was something special. I do not begrudge them 1 dime. The PGA and Euro Tours are supporting your ability to make those insane amounts of cash. If you are playing to make even more insane amounts of cash, that’s OK too. Third, if your Bread and Butter Tours say we have the right to now say who they will now allow in our Tournaments including the USGA and R&A, I’m certainly OK with that too based upon if players want to make “the sandbox tour” a new home. The Tours should make those players think twice about going over and playing there. Just my 2 cents. Anyone disagree with this take?

Rory is a superstar and can go play wherever he wants. That said, the PGA Tour is pretty much a monopoly and even though he is not directly employed by them he must follow their rules to play in their tournaments. Maybe Tiger in his heyday could have pressured the Tour, but I don’t think Rory can do much on his own.

I’m not too keen on Saudi Arabia for a few reasons, but I wouldn’t mind seeing the Tour’s control challenged a bit. I don’t think this new league is the way to do it though.

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I definitely agree with you! This was started and still supported by Greg Norman, I used to like the guy, but he’s no longer on my favorite person list. He should stick with Wine Making now. The TOURS have all given the players ample opportunity to play “Silly Season” golf wherever they want. They allow them to play in these big money events anywhere in the world. I do like that now the “Silly Season” actually means something for the new guys and they can make a name for themselves…The PGA and Euro Tours might be monopoly’s but they certainly give a ton of money to charitable causes and they certainly put on great shows at unbelievable venues. My issue is this with the “SandBox” Tour (I actually have another name that I’ll keep to myself) is strictly about cash and they want to run it against both the PGA & Euro Tours. I think both those Tours have the right and have earned the right to place whatever they want on the “Independent Contractors” of which all these guys are.

We went through this the last time Norman tried that World Golf Tour thing. IIRC, and I’m probably totally wrong, while Norman got shut down then, it did result in PGA Tour players having their required PGA tournaments per year shrunk.

I imagine something similar will happen here. I.e., you can play in Saudi/Dubai etc…, but you need to play three tournaments on the PGA Tour for each outside one, or something like that. The Tour needs its stars. But then again, most stars still need the Tour, AIUI. Everyone’s only one bad year away from needing their exemptions to get an invite, versus having the tournament bend over backwards to fit you in.

Or maybe I’ve just seen too many latest and greatest who were here one year, and barely cracking top 100 money the next.

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I’m ok with it from like September thru February…I’m NOT ok with it as the PGA and the Euro Tour “Follow the Sun” from March thru August! I’ve become a huge fan of the Euro Tour watching GC at like 3 am…It’s great!

Competition so the PGA TOUR product can improve I’m all for. And players should have the right to choose where they play.

I do however think they should should look beyond the money when dealing with the Saudis. I wouldn’t want to be associated with their league or tournaments and will think less of the players who make that choice

PGA Tour China is an official satellite of the PGA Tour. Just sayin’…that’s already who the PGA have decided are acceptable ambassadors of their athletic entertainment product. If people should be looking beyond the money.


If we ignore the moral issues of certain destinations. Who is bigger, the Tours or the superstar players? Yes, the tour made these guys stars, but these guys but patrons in the grandstands and viewers on sofa’s (and therefore revenues in the coffers). It seems a symbiotic relationship at its best but is there a lead partner?

But then they are not independent contractors. I suspect there is a good tax reason why the tour would prefer to keep the current employment situation in place. But, that comes with the cost that they can’t dictate things like when, where, or how often to work. And, even if they tried that, good luck telling the sponsors that they can’t invite Rory, DJ, or Rahm.

I’d say the players are independent contractors, but as such they have made a pact with a larger organization, the PGA Tour. In exchange for a a guaranteed spot in significant number of opportunities to make money (tournaments) they voluntarily have chosen to give up a certain amount of their independence. Now they want the other party, the Tour, to give them back some of that independence, potentially to the financial detriment of the Tour. I generally think Rory is thoughtful in expressing his opinions, and he’s probably thought through this a little more deeply than I’ve read in his comments, but in essence he’s asking his financial partner to give up money, with nothing in return.


That is exactly right. I feel the Tours—Euro and PGA, which basically run concurrently, set up their schedules and requirements to give the players, especially the Top 100, plenty of leeway to play in events from basically end of September through like mid-February wherever they want. Although many people would see a third concurrent tour that’s paying even more $$$ as just another cut out of the pie, I don’t think fans or the Tours will see it that way. The Masters selection committee has proven it. They do what they want, when they want and how they want; if you don’t qualify under the standards…like a Norman…we’ll just move on! And ya know what, they didn’t miss a beat. I guess ol’ Greg shoulda won one huh?

I’m not sure the PGA Tour should even be worried unless this new tour will offer guaranteed payouts and/or appearance fees. Probably the only negative for a “big name” player is when they play a tournament and miss the cut. Their name will probably attract tv viewers and increase attendance, but yet they get no money. It sounds like this new Tour MAY offer a minimum payout to popular players, but I couldn’t find where that was confirmed.

The “Sandbox Tour” will be offering guaranteed appearance $$$ along with very large purses…but that’s about it. The best they can buy. You can buy everything but prestige and real golf courses…If ya wanna go make the bucks feel free, but I think the PGA and Euro can reserve their right to say…you will not play here. To me, it reminds me of the USFL or ABA. Steve Young made more money than the league was worth. How’d that work out? He wasted a good portion of his career. You can’t collect a salary from a bankrupt league and owner.

Bottom line is $$$$. As in every other industry.
When there is $$$$, others will try to take the ownership.
Of course Rory is a famous and well known golfer, so was Greg Norman, but to argue they could play anywhere they wish simply because they are “independent contractors” is a self serving statement !
Why would anyone killed the goose that lay the golden egg, especially they’ll be on the receiving end ? why would a dog bite the nags that feeds it ? I wonder if there is a personal interest involved which is hidden.
In just about every business / industry, there had been this under current to over take in a way that’s not traditional. Sometimes the switch over was successful and sometimes it’s just hot air.
All of us who is supporting the industry for the last 20+ years which without showing a decent profit ( only the potential) are the ones who blew more hot air into a deflating balloon. In the same time damaging countless traditional business, ruined many people’s livelihood.
Greg Norman had been involved in many business venture and most of them no longer exit. As a businessman, I have a lot more respect for Jack Nicklaus than Norman. I even have more respect for Paul Newman the businessman than Norman.
Being a shark and eat up everything around it might be the way he believed the only way to be successful, but , there is an opinion on other things in life.
I would agree that whoever wish to jump ship has the right to do so, but they can NOT; hang on the rails of both vessels, because they’re on a colliding course. I’d say, go ahead, lose your current status; and risk of starting over fresh when one decided to come back.
Certainly, no one will stop them from going to “sandbox tour” , but they need to give up their spot for the others waiting inline.
Can’t be inline for two different cashier, make up your mind is what I would tell them. If they feel so strongly about the other choice, no one is holding them back.

I agree.
At this moment there is not much for the PGA Tour to worry about, but who knows in a few years, a few decades ? It’s a matter of who has the financial strength to go the miles.

One unnamed business should have gone under a hundred times according to their financial statement. It may still be going down in the near future without notice. It basically take over any successful business to infuse the profit to fill their own lost. An entity which provide no real product nor service while eliminated many thriving industry / business after they took over. Like a cancer, it must invade the heathy cells to survive.
The “Sandbox Tour” as the aforementioned business , are two of the same. Instead of being innovative, it decided to take over a proven and successful business / industry.
A bunch of geeks sitting around all day brainstorming to find “other ways” to park their digital fortune or to make more fortune. Imagine that, one will get paid for utilizing the “big data” to pick other’s pocket.

Maybe, this is the way of the future. Everyone will try the take-over method, instead of being innovative.

I honestly just see the tours getting together and not allowing players to play in the 5 or 6 big events worldwide if they just want to chase money. They allow them to play a few events a year. But they will require them to play in enough events unless there is a medical exemption to keep them off what I lovingly would call the sandbox tour. I forget what year it was but someone tried that in horse racing to effectively take the luster off the Triple Crown. That lasted 1 year. The trainer and owner that pulled their horse out of the Belmont that year deeply regretted it. You get 1 chance at that. You may only get one shot at Majors. Just ask Fred Couples or Davis or Tom Kite for that matter and you would never know when ure 1 week of brilliance is going to be!


Personally, my two cents worth opinion is, anyone can make decision for themselves and no one else should tell them what to do because no one else but the person making the decision will bear the consequences from that decision.
What I don’t agree is, while these guys keeping their status on the PGA Tour and seeking side fortune from other places which might eventually damage the main events which been feeding them all these years.
Ever heard of diluting the market ? Over diluting will result in lost of interest of the fans.
Simple as when every year or multiple times there be “new and improved” equipment, which basically killed off the market.
A lot of us golfers were looking forward to the “new” equipment at their 3-4 years cycle, stretching our neck so to speak and saving up the necessary funding for the new toy. When TaylorMade started saturating the market with their rapid release of equipment, it got them ahead for a short term but also created the none-urgency to purchase the new release, since there be another supposed to be a better one coming right around the corner.
We have the two major golf governing body now, The R&A and the PGA, do we really need another one ? R&A by virtues is the origin of the competition. The PGA is the one which expanded the sports and have the players and the funding to make the sports as popular as it is today.
What will the 3rd Tour do ? Besides diluting the share of the interests from the fans and sportsman alike ? Are they going to change the rules of the game ? Approach it in a none-traditional way ?
I’m totally okay with golfers making their decision either way, however, they can’t be hanging on to the status on the PGA while promoting a unnecessary alternative.
I can understand the concern of Rory , especially after his multiple injury which may have cost him his longevity to stay at the top level of this game. Guys with smaller physical frame will pay a dear price to compete with others with larger frame. Like high REV a smaller engine ( or turbo charging it ), it will not last as long as the competitors with larger displacement. So he might have thoughts of making as much as he could right now for his later years.
It is fine, just not fair to keep his playing status which could have gone to the next golfer in line who wanted a shot at the Tour.
I’d say except for their exemption status, injury, past winning…etc. they should go through Monday qualifying just like the next guy if they decided to play more than their exemption.
Exemption, can not be taken away from them, because they had earned it. Everything else, should fall into places of the rules and the common sense.

So, this is now ‘Dead in the Water’ with the biggest loser appearing to by Mickelson. What future does he have now?

Not dead in the water. A lot of the top 50-150 players could consider making the move financially if they are treating the tour as their FT Job, which it is. It’s about the Benjamin’s. Now, it’s a tough decision, and :camel: Tour will struggle to gain high profile players except for a few choice events. I’m sure some compromise will eventually come to be, But the PGA Tour has beat this back several times throughout the years starting with Norman 25 years ago and he won’t let it go. The Tour is The Players. Nicklaus and Palmer made it that way. This is a true world sport now. The Top Tour players know where their bread is buttered, you will not get the press or following from rabid Euro and PGA Tour fans following what’s happening in the Desert. Just my opinion

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Consider these few point of view.
Just how many tournament ready golf courses are in that region ? Getting ready for a couple of tournament is one thing, having a full schedule in the region will be quite different. The whole Europe can only sustain one professional Tour. British Isles have “the Open” and many regional “Opens” but not a full fledged Tour.
So what would the desert tour do, have tournaments allover the world ?
How would they handle the galleries ? Bring your own beach blanket and take a spot on top of the sand dune ? Those golf course are built for the exclusive golfers and audience, not for the people, not open to the general public. Would you support a Tour like that ?
The money they have will eventually run out, then what ? All the players will jump ship and come back to the more popular Tours which had supported their “life style” ?
I’m not against people seeking fortune, I am disappointed in those who have been benefitted their whole life through the feeding tube of the PGA and then decided to jump ship because someone offers a sign up bonus. Short sighted and disloyal to say the least.
I still say, let them go, the ones who has been sliding down the top players list due to injury and other reasons. But, take away their ranking and that should just impact their endorsement income.
If they decided to come back then, should make them start “fresh”, meaning going through the Q-School or Monday qualifying ( if that still exist, in some but not all tournaments ).
If those will abandon ship, I would not give them a life line so they could hop back and forth like a yoyo.
The proposed Tour is not the same as the E.T. or the Asian Tour, where they have tour for those who could not make it to the main stage.
It is an attempt to tear down the main stage and take over.
As what’s happening these days. Do not wantonly destroy, tear down the traditional before we have a better solution.
Yes, no one should have a say about other individual how to lead their life and people make different decision all the time; but should focus on not allowing the action to damage the stage for the existing and the future professional golfers and the people who enjoyed and supported the existing stage.
Look behind the motive of the action, and the picture is quite clear. One party wants to aggressively seeking investment to sustain their wealth when the source of the wealth runs dry, so happened the privileged few who happen to enjoy the game of golf, same as they enjoyed the race horse and sports vehicle; they see this as an opportunity to get a piece of the pie. Do they know what they’re doing, or believe they know someone who knows what they’re doing ?
Being in the game is not equal to know how to run the back stage.
As for the players who voiced their support, some are at the verge of re-thinking of how they could amass more fortune before they retire, some had the fortune and lost most of it so this is an attractive alternative.
Why should an average golfer not living in the region of the propose new Tour to even think of supporting this ?
Do we really think this event will "help to grow the game " in that part of the world ? I doubt an average person could get to play the game.
So this is an attack to take away of what we have, without benefiting anyone in the game except for those who instigate and chose to partake.
Now, tell me why should I view this as okay to support ?