The topic of sponsor exemptions for celebrities has bounced around as a semi-hot subject. I am not inferring that PRO-AMs are a bad thing, in fact I enjoy watching some of the antics by various celebrities. However, these events are set up this way and all the fans understand that this is not a regular event like all other professional golf tournaments. Personally, I not a fan of celebrities being given a sponsor exemption to play with the pros. And it appears I am in the majority on this topic.
I was a bit surprised that 70% of the respondents agreed with my view. This is what you said:
Many of the responses, some more colourful than others, did like the idea of an amateur celebrity being offered a sponsor’s position that a journeyman player is vying does not seem right. Messing with their livelihood by reducing the number of available positions is not something I grows the game or keeps the PGA Tour strong.
Other respondents state that golf is a business at that level. The fact that a sponsor can have a celebrity play in one of their spots is not exactly true. There are varying regulations as to who can fill an “sponsors exemption”, but one that caught my eye is “A tournament can award a maximum of eight sponsor exemptions (amateurs are eligible so long as said amateurs have handicaps of zero or less)” If you want more details the article at ThoughtCo.com called Sponsor Exemptions in Golf: What They Are, How Tournaments Use Them is a good read.
Courtney Capps pointed out a a commonsense solution that I can get behind:
Having the celebrity sponsor be invited to qualify on Monday against the other hopefuls was another idea bantered around. I like this idea as well because now the person has earned their way into the event. I am not sure that the sponsor would be keen on this idea, but it does level the playing field.
Of course there is a distinction between celebrity sponsor exemption and offering a position to a popular professional not play up to their normal level of precision. It is unlikely that they will win either, but at least they have a prove track record to play at the professional level.
This topic has many rabbit holes. Depending on your position, an argument can be made for any solution. Neither are completely right and none or completely wrong. It is all a matter of perspective. Personally, I am not a fan of “sponsors exemptions”, but I do understand the business need to have them. I doubt things will change anytime soon, but it is fun to discuss interesting topics.
Are you on the pro or con side of celebrity sponsors exemptions?
I am a grateful golfer! See you on the links!