A lot has been made lately about golf sellouts such as Phil Mickelson, Bryson DeChambeau, Kevin Na, Patrick Reed and my 14th cousin four times removed on my paternal granddad’s side Dustin Johnson (who I always avoided at family reunions anyway because we kept arguing over whether shorts on the golf course are OK — they are, by the way) leaving the PGA Tour for the LIV Tour, where some have received bonuses over $100 million just for joining.
Now, before I go on, let me assure you this is not an article about golf. I’ve applied for writing jobs at Golf Digest and Putt-Putt Journal, and they both replied, “Dude, you ain’t even close to being qualified to write about golf … or anything really.” I dispute that. As a former sports writer, I’ve covered plenty of golf tournaments from local fellas playing with a cooler of beer on the back of the cart to LPGA Futures Tour events to youth tournaments (where I once watched some skinny kid named Charles Howell III crush everyone) to exhibitions where I interviewed folks like Georgia boy Davis Love III. I once followed Greg Norman for 18 holes at Callaway Gardens. (A few thousand other folks did, too, by the way; I ain’t no stalker.)
No, this post is about rich folks who desperately need to be richer — and that would include disappointing humans like “The Shark” Norman, who is chief of the LIV. In case you haven’t heard, the LIV is backed by the richie richs in Saudi Arabia. I doubt these golfers have done any research to see if these Saudis ever financed any terror operations — you know, like 9/11 or the dismemberment of critical journalist Jamal Khashoggi — but I’d be worried about what “making the cut” means on a Saudi-backed tour.
(I know, I know — the LIV has no “cut” because everybody gets a participation trophy in the form of really big checks, even the losers. Hmm, maybe I should consider joining.)
At what point is enough enough? Last week, the Mega Millions and Powerball jackpots each topped $300 million. That was almost enough to convince me to purchase my annual ticket, which only slightly increases the odds of winning the jackpot. Granted, that’s only like $100 million after taking the cash option and having taxes taken out — although, if I ever win, I’m gonna legally change my name to Donald J. Elon Bezos Zuckerberg to substantially lower my tax liability.
Anyway, I did wonder what I’d do with that much money. Of course, my wife would have her say about half of it, which would include a trip to Greece, a luxury car and maybe a couple of handbags. As for my share, I’d buy a secluded mountain cabin, a cottage on an island, a boat, front-row tickets to a Jimmy Buffett concert, some fancy flip-flops and a lifetime supply of double-chili-cheeseburgers from Troy’s Snack Shack in Montezuma, Ga. The majority of the rest would go to charities. The last thing on my mind would be, “Gee, I wonder how can I turn my $100 million into $200 million?” No, I can get by and die perfectly happy with $100 million, although I wouldn’t be perfectly happy with the whole dying thing.
There’s nothing wrong with wanting to turn $100 million into $200 million if you want to do something positive with it, like give the next $100 million to good causes or empower communities, families and the next generation to help themselves and build a better world for the future. There is, however, something wrong with just hoarding. Or hoarding $180 billion. Or oil companies making insane record profits at the expense of those working hard to turn a hundred bucks into two hundred bucks and then spending the windfall on stock buybacks, TV ads about how bad they have it and purchasing lawmakers. Or a billionaire stressing over another billionaire having a billion more.
As for the rich folks who like to flaunt their wealth, it just doesn’t impress me. Stories about celebrities’ 20,000-square-foot mansions with 27 bathrooms or athletes with 10,000-square-foot sneaker closets just make me think they’re idiots. Of course, idiots are heroes in America. It’s their time. They’re stars, lawmakers and trend-setters.
To each their own, I guess. It’s enough to make me wanna buy a lotto ticket, win it, and start building my little cabana on a quiet cay off the coast of Belize. If my wife comes back from her Greece trip, I might even let her decorate one wall. Just one.