• Canadian Pelley says ‘five-figure gift’ is not worth it • Tiger Woods ‘living proof’ of a golf career can go on for life
Keith Pelley, the new head of Rogers Media, Canada’s biggest media company, has admitted golfers are struggling to make a living as professional athletes.
Four-time major winner Nick Faldo had launched a scathing attack on the game’s superstars, such as Tiger Woods, as a “lost generation” after a number of leading golfers such as Rory McIlroy and Adam Scott, banks and businesses have dropped their sponsorship of the game.
However, speaking ahead of the Alfred Dunhill Links Championship on the Home of Golf in St Andrews, Scotland, Pelley, who replaced George Cope as chief executive of Rogers Media in July, said the rising number of stars had not helped support conditions for those on the professional tours.
“It’s about the value of a five-figure gift. We’re talking about little carrots, little flowers that people throw away, and we have to get back to the basics,” he said.
“The industry has gone bananas. It should never go bananas.
“We have to rethink the industry and ask is this the best we can do? If this is the best we can do in 2021, maybe we need to look at our priorities a little differently. We have got to come up with a strategy that’s sustainable in a digital world.”
There are currently no women’s tournaments in the UK and, while there are plans to run a three-woman team event in January, that has attracted criticism from some female players.
However, Faldo, who won three majors in a span of just seven months at the turn of the century, said: “This is a huge mistake by the guys. I understand how they all have got too much success.
“But guys like Jason Day, Jordan Spieth, Rory McIlroy, Adam Scott and maybe Tiger Woods – they can turn this around for them.”
Last month, however, it was announced that Wood had signed a three-year deal with Nike.