For the future, however, it is money that does all of the important talking. Next March the National Airlines Open at the Miami Country Club will become the third $200,000-plus purse on the tour, joining the Westchester Classic and the Milwaukee Open, and there is much talk of a $300,000 tournament—backed by Wall Street money and to be held at Shinnecock Hills in Southampton—that would appear as early as the fall of 1969.
Just last week the Greater Greensboro Open announced it was raising its purse to $160,000, with Allied Chemical picking up the tab for the first-place check of $32,000. In 10 years Greensboro has increased its purse by $145,000 and its first-place money by $30,000. At that rate, the GGO of 1979 will pay $1,696,000 and first place will be worth $512,000.
As long as the PGA tour remains exempt from overexposure and is handled properly, efficiently and in a businesslike manner, there is no reason why it can't grow even larger than it is, no matter who eventually does the handling.
It is only when the pros overreach themselves and accept, rather than turn down, such a circus offer as was made recently (to play 72 holes at night under the lights in Las Vegas) that they will be in danger. Jackie Gleason himself reportedly is considering a $500,000 golf tournament in Miami Beach. Not much. Just twice Westchester. Just The Great One putting on The Greatest One, presumably 144 holes to be played underwater in the swimming pool of the Fontainebleau Hotel while Claude Kirk hands out scorecards, John Wayne gives inspirational readings and 8,000 leftover "Rocky" campaign balloons float to the surface.
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