The Week That Was | 18 – 24 October 2010

by Golfer on

Normally at this time of the year, once the winners of the Majors have been decided, and the FedEx Cup final has been played, while we wait for the European Tour’s season-ending Race to Dubai, not a lot happens. Of course the announcement of the field for the Nedbank Golf Challenge created a stir, and considering that this event now celebrates its 30th year, it is going to be a rather special event.

The quote of the week undoubtedly came from the Nedbank Golf Challenge’s tournament director Alastair Roper, who when he was quizzed as to why there were no Americans in this year’s field, suggested that there is perhaps too much golf and too much money in the game. He certainly has a point. It is amazing to think that not too long ago a big deal was made of the fact that a professional golfer could earn more that $1 million in a single season. This year on the PGA Tour, the little-known Chris Riley won more than a million and only finished in 87th place on the money list. Jim Furyk won $4.8 million, not enough to finish in top spot, that belongs to Matt Kuchar, who has managed to bank $4.9 million this season. Of course Furyk also collected another $10 million for winning the FedEx Cup – not “official” money, but enough to keep the wolf from the door for a while.

The prize money for the Nedbank Golf Challenge has been increased to $5 million, and shared between only 12 players this is not exactly ‘chump change.’ The winner takes home $1.25, and even the player finishing in last place will receive $ 250,000 – enough to buy a few Christmas presents.

Gary Player tells us that he attended a banquet when Arnold Palmer was honoured for being the first pro golfer to earn $1 million during his career – little did the great Palmer imagine then that there would come a time when players would win more than this in one week.

With the global boom in golf, it has not been surprising to see an army of young players on the scene, and in the Castello Masters in Spain, where the luckless and formless Sergio Garcia missed the cut on what is his home course, we saw another record being set. For a long time South Africa’s Dale Hayes had been the youngest winner on the European Tour, until his record was beaten by New Zealand’s Danny Lee last year. Now Matteo Manassero, a mere 17 years and 188 days old, has claimed that distinction. The young Italian now also becomes the youngest full member of the European Tour, beating Seve Ballesteros’ mark by two days. The Castello Masters is not one of the biggest money events, and Matteo’s share of the purse was a mere 333,330 Euros. Still, this is a fair amount of pocket money for a young 17-year-old, and he is sure to earn a lot more in the near future if he continues to play like he did in Spain.

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