HEY, WILLIE! A million bucks for Blaney's win? That's chump-change to Justin Thomas

·3 min read


Just once a year NASCAR announces the winnings for a driver. It just happened in the All Star Race — $1 million to Ryan Blaney.

Compare that to golfer Justin Thomas, who got $2.7 for winning the PGA Championship, where the runner-up got $1.6 million. 

It seems to me, you’d best send your kid to the driving range instead of the quarter-mile dirt track. You only need to buy a set of golf clubs instead of a race team. 


Don't be fooled. Ryan Blaney didn't pocket anywhere near $1 million for his All Star Race victory.
Don't be fooled. Ryan Blaney didn't pocket anywhere near $1 million for his All Star Race victory.


You bring up a potentially entertaining parlor discussion, assuming anyone still has a parlor. Would it be tougher to groom a kid for a big-league career in golf or auto racing?

If the kid has driving ability and you have, say, several million in disposable income, the answer is racing.

Otherwise, I'd say golf, as impossible as that game can be, because you're a whole lot less dependent on your equipment, unless you're playing with a mixed set of clubs picked up at various flea markets.

As for Blaney's million bucks, we don't know the contractual arrangement between him and team ownership. Let's go by the old industry standard and say half of that is Blaney's.

It's enough to make you think that Wanamaker Trophy is more valuable to Justin Thomas than his first-place check.
It's enough to make you think that Wanamaker Trophy is more valuable to Justin Thomas than his first-place check.

Another half, or nearly 'bout, will feed the tax man in both North Carolina and D.C., which leaves Ryan with a measly $250,000, the amount earned by each of the seven golfers who tied for 13th at the PGA.

I was gonna add that golf also infinitely safer, but frankly, there were more injuries at last week's PGA Championship than at any recent NASCAR race.

Aaron Wise was playing the seventh hole when he was beaned by an errant shot from the second tee. That same day, ESPN's Sage Steele was among the gallery when a wayward tee shot hit her in the face and did damage — she's recovering.

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I'm really sick of these obnoxious fans at the golf tournaments. Do they have to scream "GET IN THE HOLE" when a player hits a tee shot on a par-4 or par-5?

They are rude, clueless and obnoxious. If I were commissioner of golf, I'd kick them out . . . with no refund!



Kinda makes you nostalgic for the simple days when a lonely voice in the crowd would bellow, "You da man!"


With three players projected to go in the top 15 of the NBA Draft, one wonders why Duke wasn’t cutting down the nets after the Final Four.

In closing, I actually shot a 79 once. Does that put me on a par (pun intended) with Tiger Woods?



Your 79 at Grip-n-Rip Country Club would be a 99 at Southern Hills. At best.

Duke's "big three" played a combined four seasons in Durham — two for Mark Williams and one each for A.J. Griffin and Paolo Banchero. We pause for a nod of appreciation to the Boys in Research.

Such is the nature of the drive-thru lane at big-time college programs these days.


I thought you might have written something on the passing of Roger Angell. I know he was a favorite of yours. (Mine was Dan Jenkins, who is also gone.)

Roger was a great writer, like his stepfather E.B. White. And Roger’s mother, as you know, was an editor with the once greatest literary magazine in the world, the New Yorker.



Roger made it to 101, which suggests there's hope for us typists.

His early-'80s book, "Late Innings," was his third but my first of his compilation books on baseball. Afterwards, I immediately found the others. Baseball essays were practically just a hobby for him, which might be why he was so amazing at it

Anyway, if you're ever pining for the days of twi-night doubleheaders and starting pitchers who also finished, go find you some Roger Angell and thank me later.


Thanks for capturing so much of Ron Rice’s life in his obituary. Wow, what a life he had.

I saw somewhere that his father once gave him $500 to help get started with the suntan product. Compare that to what we define as “seed money” these days. 

It’s good to read about a self-made success, and goodness was he ever ahead of his time in the marketing arena.



Hopefully it won't be long before we revisit that amazing life. Former colleague Jeff Snook worked with Ron on an autobiography with an appropriate title: "Great Times & Tan Lines."

"Out soon," as they say in the publishing world, where there's quite a gulf between one man's definition of "soon" and another's.

Well, folks, that's about all the time we have today, so . . . huh? What's that? Almost forgot. Here you go . . .


Police are called to an apartment and find a woman holding a bloody 3-iron, standing over a lifeless man. The detective asks, “Ma’am, is that your husband?”

“Yes,” she says.

“Did you hit him with that golf club?”

“Yes, yes, I did,” she says before beginning to bawl.

“How many times did you hit him?”

“I don't know,” she says between sobs. “Put me down for a five.”



Now, THAT'S funny.

Keep 'em coming, and someday we'll patch all of them together for a Greatest Hits album. All proceeds going to poor ol' Mito Pereira, whose unfortunate lash on the 72nd tee box relegated him to just $870,000 in PGA Championship earnings.

— Reach Ken Willis at ken.willis@news-jrnl.com

This article originally appeared on The Daytona Beach News-Journal: Buy Junior a set of golf clubs, not a race car | HEY, WILLIE!