Tuesday, November 20, 2007

Australasian golf tour launches with controversy

In its prime the Australian golf tour was one of the top tours in the world. Past Australian open winners include such names as Gary Player, Jack Nicklaus and Arnold Palmer. This really shows that this was hardly a backwater event that it has become today.

Every year our (by our I mean Australians) tour launches with the same story. Some of our players are not coming back to play our major tournaments. This year Geoff Ogilvy and Adam Scott will be missing from this weeks Mastercard Masters. Geoff Ogilvy has sighted family reasons and early reports suggest Adam Scott just didn't want to play this week.

Even Robert Allenby has weighed into the debate suggesting that if the top Aussie players don't come back to the tour then the Australian tour will die. However he did mention the pressure put onto the Aussie players to return year after year and reminded the media to go easy of missing players or they will not want to show up next time around

Greg Norman was the perfect example of how this pressure from the media has hindered our tour. Every time he returned he had to field questions and hear scathing attacks on him for not returning for events - so he just stopped showing up.

I know these golfers have such a long season, but I also know the people of Austrlaia would love to see our top players each year. I don't know the solution, but I do know that the top 2 Aussie golfers will be missing this week and that is a real shame.

Australian golf is still producing some of the worlds top players, but our tour is a shambles. The Mastercard Masters is co-sanctioned by the European Tour (a step in the right direction), but only one European Tour player from the top 100 will be playing.

I would love to hear other opinions - feel free to leave a comment.


Free Bet Man said...

Although sad it is understandable why the top Aussie players are unwilling to return to their homeland to compete on the tour.
The obvious reason is that the prize funds the US and European Tours are much richer than back home and when you are trying to build a career to retire from with a healthy bank balance, these are the tours to ply your trade on.
The only real difference that could be made would be if the Australian Government interviened and introduced a large purse for the Australian Tournarment's which would entice the players back.
This doesn't just have to be a pie in the sky idea either given the Australian's love for sport.

Tom said...

Thanks for your comment. I absolutely agree that prize money (or lack of it) is one cause of our tours decline. I doubt the government will intervene though (unless they became a sponsor). The government of Australia is great at providing money for the development of sports, but usually holds short of putting up prize money.

The best we can hope for is a new major sponsor that will pour some money into the events.

Free Bet Man said...

Good point, I doubt that the Government itself will directly become involved with the Tour but they could provide funding for youngsters within the sport in Australia with the view to increasing popularity in the long-run couldn't they?
A major problem I believe with regards to the sponsorship issue could well be the geography of the Country itself, as unlike the US and European tours, Australia is set well away from any major golfing hot spot although there could be a possibility of linking up with the Asian Tour perhaps?