In 2007, Henrik Stenson played 125 holes in the Accenture Match Play on his way to victory, earning a nice $1.35 million check for his service.
In 2010, Stenson played exactly one hole at the Accenture Match Play, and earned $44,000 for his trip to Marana, Ariz. The breakdown? Stenson made more per hole this year than he did in '07 ($10,800 per hole) when he actually played the entire week and won.
How does this happen, you ask? Well, Stenson showed up in Arizona with flu-like symptoms, but if he had pulled out of the competition without starting his first match, he would have earned exactly zilch. By playing a single hole, which he did against Ben Crane before retiring, he got the same amount anyone in the field did for losing their first round match. The nice little sum of $44,000.
This obviously brings in some moral questions, but it is only fair we point out this ... Stenson earned a spot in the field, which is given to the top-64 in the world. He has played well enough over the last few years to garner a spot at Dove Mountain, and so it is his decision to show up and earn his money.
That being said, how does this sit well with the public? And more than that, how does it sit with Steve Marino, the 67th ranked player in the world that would have got the nod if Stenson would have pulled out early enough? Marino is playing some superb golf right now, coming off two top-5 finishes in his last two starts, and would have had a great chance to advance in this tournament. Instead, he had to watch as Stenson limped out for a hole, conceded the match and cashed his mortgage-buffing check.
Stenson had all the right in the world to do this. But is it moral? Drop your thoughts in the comments.
(Also, if you were wondering if we paid Stenson $44,000 to pose in his undies with a golf club, you're sadly mistaken. This was from the first round of the 2009 CA Championship. And you thought your Wednesday was going to be naked Swedish-free. Tisk, tisk.)