For the first meeting of the 2023/2024 year of the Club, Mike Jones, who is in Africa with Dana, arranged a wonderful speaker, Wayne Thronson to talk about, “How I set up PGA golf tournaments.” Dick Muri chaired the meeting. Rob Erb introduced his friend, Wayne, with the following:
“Most of us who play the game of golf, and even those who don’t know the names Arnold Palmer and Jack Nickolas. Oue speaker today has competed with both of them as well as working with other big-name golfers and many other sports celebrities! Wayne started off as a young man in the insurance business and by some strange quirk of fate, wound up in the professional golfing industry. There he consulted, worked for and worked with a number of the biggest names in golf while remaining rather anonymous to the rest of the world.
He retired in 2012 from his company, Tournament Services. His son now owns and runs the business or as Wayne puts it “The business runs him.”
“I’ll let him tell you how he went from a mild-mannered insurance executive to a mild-mannered owner of a fascinating business in the professional golfing industry that most of us never heard of!”
Wayne related that he got started when he helped set up an LPGA tournament, which lead to requests to set up some PGA senior tournaments, which lead to him forming his company to provide set up services for PGA tournaments. He said that tournament sponsors often hire management companies, who hire his company, under contract, to provide everything from training volunteers, stands, roping the course, signage, to porta potties.
He distinguished between the PGA TOUR and the PGA of America. The PGA of America is composed of American professional golfers like club pros, while the PGA Tour was formed in 1968 when a subset of touring professionals broke away from the PGA of America and includes foreign players. The PGA Tour co-sanctions tournaments on the PGA TOUR, PGA TOUR Champions, Korn Ferry Tour, PGA TOUR Latinoamérica and PGA TOUR Canada. Wayne stated that, while the sponsors pay for tournaments, the PGA Tour makes all the decisions.
He talked about the Saudi funded LIV golf tournaments, which started 2 years ago when they bought 48 players to play in 7 tournaments of 54 holes, no cuts, and shotgun starts in team competition. Last year there were 13 tournaments.The PGA TOUR has typically organized 40 tournaments a year which does not include the 4 major tournaments, The Masters, The US Open, The Open Championship, and the PGA Championship. In response to the LIV tour high prize money, the PGA TOUR doubled the purses for designated events, in 2023, and signature events, in 2024. There will be a total of 8 signature events in 2024, which do not include the majors, playoff events and Players Championship. There will be smaller fields and increased purse sizes. To learn more about these events go to this site: https://sports.betmgm.com/en/blog/pga/pga-tour-what-are-elevated-events-which-tournaments-bm10/.
Wayne commented that for these tournaments 50 of the top players have to play or be fined and that in the undesignated tournaments you won’t know the players. LIV and the PGA TOUR have agreed to merge and all law suits have been dropped. There are many questions such as, “How are the players, who did not go to LIV, going to be compensated for turning down large amounts of money.” Wayne’s comment, “It’s a mess!” He then said but “golf is doing well.”
In response to a question, Wayne indicated that caddies make 5 to 10% of the golfer’s winnings.
This Fall, we will be resuming our “who are those guys” in which new and old members give talks about themselves, what you have done and what you are now doing which will help us get to know each other better.
Next week our speaker is Connie Behe of the Pierce County Library System speaking on the Lakewood Library and the County Library System.
Please join us in-person at the TC&GC but if you are not able then join us on ZOOM.
RESPECTFULLY SUBMITTED, Chuck Foster, Club Secretary, sitting in for Scribe Phil Sloan who, currently, is messing around in India but threatens to return in the not too distant future.