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Wayne Independent - Honesdale, PA
  • The motivation of big money

  • It's a good thing there are two televisions in our house.

    The reason is quite simple: Sports.
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  • It's a good thing there are two televisions in our house.
    The reason is quite simple: Sports.
    I grew up as a big fan of sports and that has not waned over the years.
    In fact, I fear my love of sports has grown over the years. It has certainly expanded.
    Lately, I've become a big fan of golf.
    Okay, let it out.
    "That's so bo-o-o-o-o-ring!"
    I could not disagree more.
    In fact, we were having a discussion in the office last week about that very subject. My colleague, Melissa Leet, was aghast that I watch the PGA tour. She just couldn't understand why I liked the sport so much because it was so boring to watch.
    I found that argument interesting coming from Melissa, who is a professed fan of baseball.
    One of the reasons I like golf — and baseball — so much is because they are sports of the brain.
    Sure, it takes athletic skill to play both of these sports, but it also takes a sharp mind.
    In golf, every choice a golfer makes can have an impact on the outcome — and there's big money at stake.
    For instance, let's say a golfer selects the wrong club and puts one in a sand trap. That could cost the golfer a stroke.
    Sure, it's one stroke, but how many times to you see tournaments end up with someone winning by one?
    That's what fascinates me about the sports so much.
    It amazes me to see just how much time some golfers take in deciding which club to use as well as determining wind direction and other factors.
    But I can understand exactly why they are so determined to be the best: Big money.
    The amount of money involved with the PGA tour these days is staggering. This past weekend, Tiger Woods because the first professional golfer in history to pass the $100 million mark in earnings.
    And with Tiger, that pales in comparison to how much he has made in endorsements over the years. Even with his epic personal failure, he still is one of the most popular athletes on the planet.
    To me, that's why the level of play in golf has risen so sharply over the past decade. As the money kept growing and growing, so did the number of people wanting a piece of the pie.
    And who could blame them?
    These days, professional golfers are cut out of a very different mold than in the days of Arnold Palmer and Jack Nicholas.
    Page 2 of 2 - Those boys were excellent, granted, but they didn't work out in the gym every day or eat healthy. They just played the game.
    Now, however, it has all changed.
    In many ways, it reminds me of my truly favorite sport of auto racing.
    Back in the day, A.J. Foyt was 50 pounds overweight and still won more races than anyone.
    Today, however, these drivers are true athletes who have strict routines of healthy eating and working out in the gym. With the exception of Tony Stewart, you just don't see overweight race drivers these days.
    The motivation is again the same: Money.
    I did a little research when it comes to money in racing.
    Richard Petty, the king of stock car racing, earned a respectable $8 million in his long career.
    On the other hand, Jeff Gordon has earned $127 million in a career that continues.
    That's a huge difference — and a great motivator of people.
    In some ways, the onslaught of big, corporate money into sports has not been a good thing. Big salaries have spoiled so many participants.
    But the fact remains that big money is here to stay and in some ways, it has elevated the competition. There's nothing like money to motivate someone to perform better.
    Now, about that 3-iron you are thinking about using ...
    Little is editor of The Wayne Independent and can be reached at editor@wayneindependent.com.
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