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Empowerment is not Entitlement

Greetings Golfers,

Last week’s blog created quite a response about fun golf and serious golf.

And … has continued with emails about Phil Mickelson and the Saudi Tour. And, I’ve received remarks about Tour players covered in logos like Nascar drivers.

My original plan was to write about empowerment and entitlement … but more in the context of staff and customers.

However, I think that it all fits under the theme of what is legal … and what is moral.

They aren’t necessarily the same thing.

People living together can be tricky. We need laws to keep things orderly and to protect each other.

I think our Founders stated intent of “Life, Liberty, and the Pursuit of Happiness” is about as good as it can get. It allows for individual pursuits … which may not be shared by others … but are legal as long as they don’t hurt people.

As far as the Saudi Tour and Mickelson comments … well, greed is not attractive. But legal.

Were any of Phil’s comments about the greed of the PGA Tour accurate? Yes. 

However, Phil doesn’t seem to be motivated by noble intentions. He’s obviously angry at the Tour and wants revenge. Yet it’s hard to feel sorry for the life he’s led as a Tour player and the $100M he’s made on the PGA Tour … not including endorsements, etc.

Even worse are his comments about overlooking the Saudi human rights violations … because the Saudi Tour gives him “leverage” (his phrase) over the PGA Tour.


Is the PGA Tour perfect? Hardly. 

Was the PGA Tour’s break from the PGA of America pretty? Hardly. 

Too often business is too bottom-line and short-sighted. Is it attractive? Hardly. Is it legal? Usually. Is it moral? Ahhh … that’s your choice.

Remember Gordon Gekko’s famous line in the movie “Wall Street”?: “Greed is good.”


We all know about Phil’s gambling problems. And I’m sure money to him is what booze is to an alcoholic. It’s never enough.

Motivation … intent … is what drives people. That’s their choice … that’s their right. But those choices are reflected in their actions. Though they may not be criminal, greedy choices are not attractive to moral people. 

Professional golf tours solely driven by greed are not attractive. Players who look like a billboard are not attractive. I was asked if Ben Hogan would be covered in logos. I doubt it. You probably know the story about Hogan starting his golf club company by investing every nickel he had into it. And … that the first run of irons did not live up to his standards … and he insisted they be scrapped. That decision almost sunk his company before it got off the ground. But, Hogan’s life was driven by integrity.

I wish Hogan could come back and be the commissioner of the PGA Tour.


Tom Abts
GM/Head PGA Professional
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