Thu Sep 02 09:40am EDT
Ah, pro-ams. Is there no way that these corporate smoochfests can't cause controversy?
Barely a week removed from his criticism of the PGA Tour for DQ'ing Jim Furyk for missing a pro-am, Phil Mickelson is himself "opting out" of this week's Deutsche Bank pro-am, the Golf Channel reported. In return, he'll have dinner with a bunch of Deutsche Bank honchos on Friday night.
Bowing to criticism, the PGA Tour this week suspended the rule that disqualifies a player who misses a pro-am from the tournament itself. But it's important to note that this isn't a case of Phil taking immediate advantage of a new opportunity.
Rather, Phil is taking advantage of the tour's existing "opt-out" provision, which allows players who finished in the top 30 of last year's money or FedEx Cup lists to bail on two tournaments. The sponsor must approve of the ditching, and the player must make good with an immediate sponsor-interaction event. About a half-dozen players have taken advantage of the rule this year, Mickelson among them; he jumped ship at the Arnold Palmer Invitational and had dinner with sponsors instead.
"In a pro-am three or four amateurs are going to get five hours with Phil on the golf course, which is great, but maybe it’s better if you have a dinner with 20 executives and clients for two or three hours," Andy Pazder, the tour's senior vice president of tournament administration, told the Golf Channel. "Maybe that’s a better use of a player’s time."
If Mickelson hadn't made a big deal about Furyk's DQ, this wouldn't have even been a thing, but he did, so it is. So what's your take? What would you rather have with a player, a few hours on a golf course or a few drinks and a steak?