Bunker Men­tal­ity

the luck of the draw or the bounce of the ball can turn tour­na­ments on their heads and pre­vi­ously sane golfers into ner­vous wrecks.

HK Golfer - - Contents - By Mike Wil­son

It may come as some­thing of a sur­prise that win­ner Wade Ormsby would prob­a­bly not have been the high­est-paid player in the UBS Hong Kong Open.

While in any 156-man field each week, there can only ever be one win­ner – ergo 155 ‘Losers’. Surely that for­tu­nate fel­low with the low­est num­ber of strokes, brought about by a com­bi­na­tion of fine shots, holed putts, fewer and less un­for­tu­nate mis­takes and a slice or two of good for­tune thrown into the mix must walk away on Sun­day night. Win­ner’s speech de­liv­ered, pho­to­graphs posted for, press questions an­swered, cham­pagne coiffed, cham­pion’s com­mit­ments ful­filled as the most highly-fi­nan­cially-re­warded player of the week, first amongst equals.

Ex­cept, no, not nec­es­sar­ily so, as with Aus­tralian win­ner of the 2018 sea­sonopen­ing UBS Hong Kong Open, Wade Ormsby. The leader­board shows that the 27-year-old from Ade­laide won €281,786, around US$355,000 in the lovely green­back lu­cre wor­shipped by pro golfers ev­ery­where, by far the big­gest pay-day of his ca­reer to date, hardly sur­pris­ing for a maiden vic­tory on the sec­ond most valu­able cir­cuit on earth.

That’s al­most US$200,000 more than each of the four men who fin­ished in a tie for sec­ond and shared the sec­ond, third, fourth and fifth-place purses. Three, like Ormsby, rel­a­tively un­known wannabees, the other, the high-fly­ing young Span­ish mata­dor Rafa Cabr­era-Bello, 20th on the Of­fi­cial World Golf Rank­ing, al­ready a mem­ber of global golf’s elite club.

But, whilst the man for whom the epi­taph ‘Jour­ney­man pro,’ might well have been coined may have recorded the fewest shots over Fan­ling for four days late last year, it may come as some­thing of a sur­prise that he would prob­a­bly not have been the high­est-paid.

With reign­ing Masters cham­pion Ser­gio Gar­cía and Olympic gold medal­ist Justin Rose both per­suaded to take a trip to one of the most evoca­tive cities in the world but with a prize fund nei­ther would think of leav­ing home for. Thanks to the of­fer of what those prac­ti­tion­ers in the dark arts of PR might de­scribe as, ‘A sub­stan­tial six­fig­ure sum,’ is far from un­re­al­is­tic to as­sume both got al­most as much - and ar­guably more - as Ormsby won for four-days of heated com­pe­ti­tion in the New Ter­ri­to­ries, just for turn­ing up.

While the Aus­tralian would have had with­out ques­tion - at least 15% with­hold­ing tax taken off at the source, the Ry­der Cup duo may, through their man­age­ment agen­cies, have ne­go­ti­ated a tax-free lump sum. All in

re­turn for im­age rights, a coach­ing clinic or two and a few warm words, and many, many more thou­sands and mil­lions on the gate and the global view­ing fig­ures re­spec­tively than Ormsby - with the great­est of re­spect - will draw when he re­turns as de­fend­ing cham­pion next year.

Both 2015 cham­pion Rose and Gar­cía will have had lo­cal Hong Kong tax pro­por­tion due to their an­nual world­wide im­age rights an­nulled, whereas Ormsby has no such pow­ers to re­voke, whilst it’s pos­si­ble too that the duo’s com­mis­sions due to their mu­nif­i­cent man­age­ment com­pa­nies may also have been paid by the event spon­sors/pro­mot­ers.

All three will have had to pay their cad­dies, the rate is usu­ally 8%, whilst only the win­ner would have fallen due to the 10% win­ner’s bonus to his bag­man.

Mean­while, Rose and Gar­cía would have been flown by spon­sors, most prob­a­bly first-class, busi­ness at worst, from their lux­ury homes in the tax havens of the Ba­hamas and Switzer­land re­spec­tively and put-up in a suite at the five-star ‘Lux­ury,’ JW Mar­riott in Cen­tral. Ormsby - fly­ing econ­omy and pos­si­bly even shar­ing a room with a sim­i­larly ‘im­pov­er­ished’ player - in the Mar­riot Court­yard, a case of the princes and the pau­pers.

Ormsby may well be paid a mod­est five­fig­ure sum in ad­vance next time around as de­fend­ing cham­pion, the man from Ade­laide, who leapt 201 places up the OWGR from 319th to 118th with his Hong Kong Open vic­tory needs one big win, or two more mod­est ones be­fore he’s even at the top ta­ble.

The Aus­tralian’s im­me­di­ate aim go­ing into the 2018 sea­son would have been to re­tain his Euro­pean Tour play­ing rights by get­ting into the top 101 on the Race to Dubai Rank­ings, some­thing he achieved com­fort­ably end­ing the 2016/17 sea­son in 83rd place on US$429,500. But ten missed cuts and only four top ten fin­ishes in 27 out­ings meant he was never go­ing to make the Dubai World Cham­pi­onship or any of the WGC events.

And, with taxes, cad­dies’ fees, man­age­ment com­mis­sions and heavy week-in, week-out travel and ac­com­mo­da­tion ex­penses, halfa-mil­lion dol­lars in a sea­son may sound good. But, in truth, for a Euro­pean Tour pro­fes­sional golfer, that’s subsistence liv­ing.

Be­yond that, he can but dream of a PGA TOUR player’s card, top-50 in the OWGR, to be­come a reg­u­lar in the WGC events and the ‘Ma­jors,’ where the rich are rich and can barely help them­selves get richer still. But, un­less or un­til then, of course, he can rely on the no­tion that all men re­main equal…

Olympic gold medal­ist Justin Rose may have ne­go­ti­ated a tax-free lump sum ap­pear­ance fee through his man­age­ment agency

It is ru­moured that reign­ing Masters cham­pion Ser­gio Gar­cía per­suaded to take a trip to Hong Kong for a sub­stan­tial six-fig­ure ap­pear­ance fee

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