The starched collars at the USGA couldn’t figure it out for themselves so Steve Stricker took matters into his own hands.
Earlier Stricker had applied for a special exemption for the 2017 U.S. Open Championship that will get underway next week in his home state of Wisconsin.
Of course, the USGA called Stricks up and politely said “no.” After all, why give Wisconsin’s favorite golfing son a spot in the tournament? What’s this guy done besides winning 12 times on the PGA Tour and consistently showing one of golf’s most consistent swings?
Nah, sorry Stricks, no can do.
The good news is that Steve Stricker will be in the field at Erin Hills next week. Good news is that this quiet gentleman let his clubs do the talking the way he has for most of his career. He went out and won the Sectional Qualifier in Memphis on Monday. Shot 10-under par and punched his ticket the old-fashioned way.
It’s no easy task getting into a U.S. Open.
The first thing you need to know is that the many qualifiers around the world are quite a wind-fall for the always-money-greedy USGA. There were 9,485 applicants who each ponied up $175 to enter. Our limited math skills show that to be $1,659,875 dumped into the USGA’s already fat wallet.
That is absolutely chump change when you look at what the USGA got for selling the television rights to Fox Sports. How about a cool $1 BILLION. Yeah, with a capital “B” — $1,000,000,000. Try TEN FIGURES.
So when the USGA jacked up this year’s total purse to $12 million, you could hear the ooos and the aaaaahs but seriously, what a measly $12 million when you are getting about $100 million from good old Fox?
Then when you go on site to any U.S. Open you will find very expensive shirts, hats, and all sorts of golf stuff for sale with the Erin Hills logo on them. Really expensive food, expensive tickets and very, very pricy corporate tents. We’re talking serious money folks just from those on-site sales.
So what you have with the USGA is a very, very, very fat, well-heeled, well-funded organization. Oh yes, and it’s a 501-C-3. Not for profit.
Yes, Guardians Of The Game, Keepers Of The Flame, Protectors Of All That Is Holy.
And they’ll tell you it costs money to maintain those titles.
It honchos the First Tee initiative but that’s not about golf or creating future golfers. We’ve spoken to enough PGA Professionals who will quietly whisper that it is a glorified baby-sitting service.
Problem is, the old not-for-profit gig is a wonderful disguise for an organization that is all about the money.
The stiff-collars might argue that it takes a lot of capital to oversee the game of golf, oh those expensive rules changes.
Wait a minute, just when you thought the USGA was fat enough, they’ve got one more money grab to throw your way. Throw $10 at the USGA and you can become an “associate member.”
Great idea. They’ve typically got about one million of us who do that and that throws another $10 million into an already overblown bank account.
Yes, we plead guilty to joining the “USGA associate” scam over the years. Maybe it was the late Arnold Palmer asking, heck, if Arnie says it’s good, it’s got to be.
We saw the other day that Arnie’s estate was valued at $875 million.
Obviously the USGA is in business to chase that number.