The federal budget comes down on Tuesday, but don’t expect to see golf granted its sought-after status as a legitimate expense for businesses entertaining clients.
The first reason is that, since October, the National Allied Golf Associations hasn’t had enough time to introduce itself and get its message across to the new government, with its Liberal majority under Justin Trudeau.
The second reason is that the new government has other priorities after promises made during the campaign. Among those are infrastructure spending, youth employment and child benefit system reform, among others.
The government is expected to run a deficit as high as $30-billion in the coming fiscal year, three times the promise in the fall election to hold annual deficits to $10-billion.
As a result, every line of this year’s budget will be scrutinized intensely. Expect this budget to zero in on what came out in the fall election and golf didn’t receive a mention during the campaign.
No Distrespect Intended, King
The affront to Arnold Palmer that some are accusing marquee players of for not playing at Bay Hill is an example of how oversensitive and overdramatic that we get in golf, especially when it comes to an icon such as the King.
These days, salary negotiations, arbitration, endorsements, television rights, million dollar purses and other business items tend to suck some of the fun out of professional sports in general.
Oddly enough, the King played a major role in building the current business environment, with his charisma and talents bringing professional golf into an era in which the schedule is jam-packed with lucrative events.
Add to that the Olympics this year and players, like many of us in different professions, requires tough business decisions.
The often-forgotten factor in criticizing players for their absence is the time they would understandably like to spend with their families, especially with the Masters just a few weeks away.
Add family time and other factors such as sponsor commitments, nagging injuries etc., into a schedule in which majors, WGC events, the FedEx Cup and the Players Championship are can’t-miss events and this is bound to happen. Let’s not forget the Ryder Cup and Presidents Cup, as well.
If marquee players are MIA at the Memorial in June, it will be an insult to Jack Nicklaus in some people’s minds.
How often over the years have we whined about the field at the Canadian Open not having enough top stars, especially since it’s been moved in behind the British Open?
Depending on the event, those complaints are louder when they’re heard nationally as opposed to regionally, but either way, they’re heard pretty much every week and have been for years.
Unless players are mandated to be at every event on the schedule over a certain number of years, the debate will go on, but it hasn’t been settled due to the players’ status as independent contractors and it probably never will be resolved.
Even if that did happen, it would mean Arnie’s event would be without stars if they have to spread themselves around to other events over, say, a five-year time period.
Of course, Palmer and Nicklaus deserve respect, which explains why Bubba Watson and Rickie Fowler made a special trip to Bay Hill to explain their absences in person to the King.
You would find few people in golf who would dare disrespect Arnold Palmer. Missing in action stars are part of the new world in golf that has been replaced the feel-good environment we once knew.
The Canadian Golf Superintendents Association has changed the deadlines on the majority of its award programs. The new schedule will have June 30 as the deadline for the Toro Future Superintendent of the Year and Bayer Superintendent of the Year, while Nov. 30 will be the deadline for the Environmental, Equipment Technician of the Year, John B.Steel, Gordon Witteveen and Student Scholarship Awards … With four consecutive top 10 finishes on the LPGA Tour (five if you count a Ladies European Tour event), Brooke Henderson continues her steady climb up the world rankings after her tie for fourth at the Founders Cup in Phoenix. Henderson moved up two spots from 10th to eighth in this week’s rankings. Hamilton’s Alena Sharp also elevated herself by five spots to 123rd after her T28 finish in Phoenix. You can check out the rankings here … Henderson is also tied for the LPGA lead in overall top 10s … Henderson is sixth on the LPGA Tour money list after five events with $261,824. She also stands fourth in scoring average (69.55) and ninth in birdies (88 in 20 rounds for a 4.4 per round average) … Maude-Aimee Leblanc of Sherbrooke, Que., is second in LPGA Tour driving distance at 284.3 yards … Henderson, Sharp and Leblanc are the Canadians at the Kia Classic in Carlsbad, Ca., along with SooBin Kim of Coquitlam, B.C. … Adam Svensson, who received a sponsor exemption, Graham DeLaet, David Hearn and Nick Taylor are the Canadians at the Puerto Rico Open at Coco Beach this week … No Canadians are at the WGC-Dell Match Play this week … There is no tournament on the Web .com Tour or Champions Tour schedules this week … With his T4 finish at the Tucson Conquistadores Classic on the weekend, Stephen Ames tied his career best finish on the Champions Tour and although there’s no win since joining the senior circuit in 2014, Ames has top 10 finishes in one third of his starts thus far. In 27 events, Ames has top-10 finishes on nine occasions … Snow appeared again in the Calgary area last week and was expected this week in Atlantic Canada and Ontario, which should come as no surprise to Canadians in March, but perhaps we’ve just been spoiled with all of the early openings across the country this year as demonstrated by last week’s GNN Poll, which asked how much earlier golf operations were opening compared to other years. The majority, or 34 per cent, said they were opening two weeks to a month earlier, while 24 per cent said it was one to two weeks earlier and seven per cent said it was a month to six weeks earlier than usual. Another 32 per cent said they were opening about the same time as usual, with only three per cent saying they would be opening later than usual … This week’s poll asks if the outsourcing of PGA tournaments will become standard practice in most zones/associations across the country. So far, 68 per cent say yes, with 32 per cent saying no. You can vote on that poll on the GNN home page.