We Don’t Need No Education: Another Lie in the Myth

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.

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6 Responses to We Don’t Need No Education: Another Lie in the Myth

  1. BigTimeTimmyJim says:

    You don’t hear much about A-Roid, I mean A-Rod and Jeter in 1995 but you hear more than a few folks giving McGuire and Sosa more than a little credit for their home run chase/battle in 1998 and it’s positive impact on re-energizing baseball popularity after the strike earlier in the 90’s.

    You like to refer to events as their initial names; events like the LA Open for example. I don’t know for sure but it seems like the sponsors names coming into play also coincided with the .com beginnings and the increase in the Internet and social media. It could be argued that Tiger had a hand in this because the advertisers saw his popularity and deduced a tangible benefit to spending those advertising/sponsorship dollars. With no TW, are we sure those same conclusions are reached?

    • Sports-realist says:

      Both of your examples could be because of steroids…We already know Sosa/Mcguire were because of steroids, and it sure seems like Eldrick was attached to steroids too…..If anything STEROIDS had to do with the success of sports in the 90’s to today, if we are going to hand out credit properly…

      • BigTimeTimmyJim says:

        I readily admit that the chances Tiger used steriods/PED’s is pretty darn good. The question I have is, when did he start using? Tiger’s best years were pretty much ’97 to, lets say, ’07. The only evidence we have, or that I have seen, is that the doctor visits were in ’08-’09. Now, if you have similar evidence that Tiger was on something during the ’97-’07 period, I would not mind, at all, seeing that.

      • lannyh says:

        I think most would suggest his PED usage coincided with the golf media saying things like, “Look at his physique. He looks like a middle linebacker.”

        He long had an association with Lindsay (I think it is) going way back to those early bodybuilding days. He was on a magazine cover with him for some obscure magazine. Let me see if I can did that up…

        Okay, it looks like it is Keith Kleven. I’m going to do a quick summary and post it as an article. It’ll take about an hour or so.

      • lannyh says:

        I was thinking the same thing. Baseball writers have refused to vote those two into the Hall of Fame. If you are going to credit those guys with helping baseball for one summer, how can you not blame them for the general demise of the game’s popularity. Some people seem to have this “Tiger is great, so shut up” mentality and they come up with all kinds of twisted logic and imaginative narratives to maintain their view of him.

    • lannyh says:

      “It could be argued that Tiger…”

      Yeah, and you could argue that the Internet never would have become popular without Tiger, and that Google never would have been founded without Tiger, and that Facebook would never have been created without Tiger because…. well, I’m sure you can think of some narrative.

      A better phrase would be, “It can be ridiculously claimed…”

      I’m showing you the numbers. All sports money went up.

      You can “argue”/”ridiculously claim” anything. You could take any person or event and claim it changed the entire zeitgeist of the nation. You could claim something like 9/11 caused people to spend less out of fear, or caused them to spend more because they realized life is fleeting. You could “argue” the Troy Aikman, Emmitt Smith, Michael Irvin, and the Dallas Cowboys showed advertisers the potential popularity of sports. You can claim this stuff if you have an agenda to push. But it would be nonsense.

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