“And the nominees for Classiest Sport, with the Most Positive Role Models are… The MLB, NBA, NHL, NFL and PGA. And the winner is… The PGA!” This should come as no surprise, as they’re taking home the award for the 88th straight year (PGA Tour was founded in 1929). No other sport comes close and here’s why.
PGA Role Models
To start, the PGA/LPGA Tours have performance based contracts. If they don’t play well, they don’t get paid. Tell me another major sport that does that (save tennis)? Yes, the purses for these events are large, but 144 players (approximately) are fighting to win each week. Can you imagine an MLB player saying “No, I don’t want a guaranteed contract. Let it be based on my performance.” That’s borderline laughable and verges on insanity. Instead, a significant portion gobbles up guaranteed cash and kicks back until the final season of their contract. At which point, they attempt to produce, in order to position themselves for an even bigger deal during the off season. In short, the paying public very rarely sees 100% from everyone on the field.
Second, the PGA/LPGA is a self regulating body. Every player governs themselves and lives by an “Honor Code.” For example, if they ground their club in a hazard or move the ball accidentally, they stroke themselves. They don’t wait for an official to come in, blow a whistle and throw a flag. On top of that, they don’t complain about it. They may not like it, but they take it like a man or woman and move along. Does any other sport do that? What if Michael Jordan called himself for pushing off against Byron Russell, before hitting the game winning shot against the Utah Jazz in the 1998 NBA Championship? Of course that didn’t happen and would never happen, unless you were on the PGA/LPGA Tours.
Third and most importantly, is their compassion and understanding for the surrounding communities. It would be easy for the PGA/LPGA Tours to breeze in and out of towns with nary a second thought, but they don’t! They choose to positively impact every city and town they frequent. To that point, if the PGA Tour has a tournament with a purse of $6,000,000, they will donate darn near that same amount to whatever area they’re in. This is not a PR stunt for them. They genuinely care about the betterment of society as a whole and make it their second job to promote that agenda.
Not only has the PGA/LPGA become the most competitive sport on earth, their generosity has increased exponentially in recent years. As a matter of fact, the PGA Tour just surpassed $2.5 billion donated, since their inception. Let’s be honest, if we were to compare player to player and league to league, it wouldn’t even be close.
When was the last time you saw a PGA Tour player hauled in for domestic violence or any other major incident? Granted Phil Mickelson was embroiled in an “Insider Trading” case a year or two ago and Tiger Woods had his infamous DUI from pain pills, but that’s it.
Maybe I could throw in Dustin Johnson getting suspended for drug use, but I’m hard pressed to find anymore. That’s chump change compared to the daily nonsense we see from the other major sports. Sufficed to say, it’s a perfect time to be following the PGA. If you’re not, what’s getting in your way?