I forgot I said I’d post this in the afternoon. It’s evening now, so I better write it and post it. It’ll have to be quick and dirty.
There’s a Business Insider article pushing the Tiger-Made-Golfers-Rich lie. It’s title? “The Tiger Woods Era Made Pro Golfers More Money Than They Could Have Dreamed Of.”
The author uses the percentage increase in golf prize money between 1997 and 2008 to make his case. Now, you might wonder why he calls 2008 the end of the Tiger Era since Woods won Player of the Year in 2009 and 2013. You shouldn’t. The author used 2008 because that’s when the world financial meltdown occurred, and advertising budgets got tight afterwards. So right away you know he is pushing an agenda. As well, his starting year, 1997, coincides with the beginning of the dotcom bubble, another key factor the author sweeps under the rug.
Anyway, I pulled up a chart for Major League Baseball minimum salaries and compared the growth for the same period. (You will find similar results using any benchmark you choose.) If you run the annualized percentage gains for baseball’s minimum salary, you get something like 8.9 percent growth from 1995 (the year closest to 1997) and 2008. Golf’s was 9.3. However, the author doesn’t compare the growth of the golf prize money to other sports — where money went up equally fast. No, he compares it to the slow growth years of golf — and ALL sports — in the six prior years. (Another cherry-picked range of years.)
So, golf grew 0.4 percent faster than MLB’s minimum salary. Hardly worth noting. You can use other numbers in some other sports to show they grew even faster than golf. The simple truth is that ALL sports saw prize money increase dramatically in the dotcom and housing bubble years. However, only in golf does the media blindly ignore that in order to credit one man.
By the way, 1995 coincides with the arrival of Derek Jeter and Alex Rodriguez. Have you ever heard anyone say, “A-Rod made all the other baseball players rich.” You could say that if you wished to push that agenda, and you’d be no less logical than those who say Woods made all the other golfers rich.