Golf sponsors happy to pay but appearance fees can distort sport | Ewan Murray

Players should not be expected to promote a tournament for nothing but at some level being paid regardless of performance surely contradicts the ethos of sport

If the basis for judging Keith Pelley is the bottom line, the European Tour’s chief executive appears worthy of high praise.

A year ago, Graeme Storm retained his tour card when 111th in the rankings with seasonal earnings of €247,000. Marcel Siem has survived into 2018 while lying 101st in the order of merit; his 2017 winnings are €388,000. Tom Lewis, who finished 135th, headed to qualifying school with the hardly insignificant fallback of €227,000. Boosted by the introduction of Rolex Series events, with prize pots a minimum of $7m, there is a legitimate argument that Europe’s leading players – and even those in the second tier – have never had it so good. Access to the Rolex Series is available to a broad spectrum of players.

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