Steph Currys vanity project is a kick in the teeth to journeymen golf pros | Ewasn Murray
Basketball stars appearance in the Ellie Mae Classic is borderline offensive to golfers battling in the tough world below the main tours
Imagine the scenario. Golden State Warriors are locked in a fierce play-off battle when Jordan Spieth inspired by his brothers basketball success and a capable player in his own right decides he wants to feature in match five. Spieths overtures are accepted, thereby handing the golfer a key spot in another sports top domain.
Ludicrous, right? It certainly should be but while the circumstances are not identical there is cause to wonder about the legitimacy of the web.com Tours dispensation as given to Steph Curry. The Ellie Mae Classic in California will feature Curry a basketball superstar and Under Armour icon who plays off two after the Warriors player was handed a sponsors invitation. If it sounds like a vanity project and looks like a vanity project, it tends to be a vanity project.
Curry expressed his delight at this chance. Under Armour, the clothing company intrinsically linked to golf via Spieth, is similarly cock-a-hoop. The positive reaction which greeted the move was based on Currys ability to raise the profile of the web.com Tour, which is essentially an entry-level division for the much more lucrative PGA Tour.
Im honoured to have the opportunity to play with the pros, Curry said. Not only to be able to compete against some of the best golfers in the world but to also help bring light to the tournaments charitable footprint of giving back to the Warriors Community Foundation.
The charitable aspect of this arrangement is worthy of praise but it ends there. One also presumes Curry has plenty of means by which he can assist said foundation.
Here is the rub: if golf needs athletes from elsewhere to boost its standing, if there is not enough within the game itself to promote at the level a basketball player can, there really is a problem. Golf should be accentuating its own blue-chip properties, not shipping them in from elsewhere. It also remains curious that sports people commonly regard golf as some kind of fallback career option, as if switching into this discipline alongside people who play for a living will be automatically simple.
These individuals tend to get a rude awakening. Johan van der Wath, a former South Africa cricketer, progressed to his home open this year and easily missed the cut. Ive had great times in my cricket career but at this stage golf is No1, he said. I always say cricket was my job and golf is my passion. Most cricketers would normally play a bit of golf socially but Im passionate about it.
Which is all well and good but the concept of waltzing between sports is at best a strange one. Could Andy Murray revive his passion for football and start training with Manchester United?