Norman suggests pay cuts
Brisbane - Greg Norman, nicknamed 'The Great White Shark' when he was leading the world rankings in the 1980s and 90s, thinks golfers need to take a pay cut as the global economic crisis bites.
"Prize money's being scaled back in Europe, I wouldn't be surprised if prize money's scaled back in the U.S. just out of respect to every citizen and taxpayer over there who's suffering dramatically," the two-time British Open champion was quoted as saying on the Australian Broadcasting Corp. website. "It seems like on the PGA Tour the players are still playing for a million dollars first week, like they're recession-proof.
"I think there's got to be a lot of sensitivity shown. If I was PGA Commissioner, that's what I would be recommending."
The average PGA Tour purse in 2008 was $5.8 million.
Norman, 54, spent more than six years at No. 1 in the world golf rankings and built a multimillion dollar business empire that still has him ranked among Australia's highest-earning athletes.
He plays infrequently on the big tours now, but hit the headlines last year when he led the British Open by two strokes going into the last round before finishing in a tie for third. He's planning another shot at the U.S. Masters this year at Augusta, scene of his biggest meltdown - he held a six-stroke lead going into the final round in 1996 but lost to Nick Faldo.
Norman, who was in Australia to play the Johnnie Walker Classic last weekend in Perth, also said golf's international administrators should limit the impact of technology to save time and money rather than lengthen courses to accommodate for players hitting the ball further with increasingly advanced clubs.
"I think the powers that be could have done a better job of managing the technology breakthroughs that took place over a period of time and implemented different rules for us, the professionals, and not having to spend millions upon millions of dollars to change golf courses for four rounds," he said.