I must admit I enjoy reading the guest opinions published in this newspaper. I’d also admit that while I do not always agree with the writer’s viewpoint, I try to be open to the viewpoint the individual is trying to convey. I do, however, draw the line when a writer spews forth false rhetoric and ill-conceived logic (clearly, the Highlands News-Sun does not partake in censorship – two thumbs up) to the point where one might ask, “is the guy nuts or is he/she simply trying to be funny?”
Case in point: an article in the Sunday, Dec. 1, 2019 issue titled “We’d all like PGA pro pay.” The writer refers to the highest paid tournament of the year which, as the writer correctly notes, is $15,000,000 (I would point out most tournament winning amounts are less than 25% of this dollar amount). He, incorrectly, assumes the golfer “only” works 16 hours over a four-day period. PGA touring pros will put in hours of practice range time each week plus an additional 1-2 rounds on the course to be played in hopes of greater insight and a better score in each round of the tournament. One has to count these hours as winning a professional tournament simply cannot be done without these preliminary efforts. Using your “working man” example, how much practice time does a dishwasher need to put in each week?
Additionally, the skill level required of a PGA pro is nearly finite. Of the millions of golfers in the world, less than 150 are in a position to potentially challenge for the “$937,000 per hour” you claim as being accurate and correct when describing the winner’s hourly rate. I also noted you failed to mention that, of the 120-130 individuals who begin play at any given tour event, all are responsible for their own expenses and on Thursday and Friday, they play for free as no money is awarded for the initial two rounds. That’s correct, folks. Prize money is only distributed to the lowest 50-64 individuals who qualify to play on the weekend (golfnewsnet.com). So what you say? Think about it; 55-75 players each week (approximately half of the field) get nothing in the way of prize money. Expenses to get there, expenses while they are there, entry fee expenses, etc. all for the chance to try and be a winner. Speaking of the pros who fail to make the cut; do that often enough and the pro loses his job. Bet the dishwasher is the one laughing now.
The writer belittles FedEx for putting up the $15 million in prize money (which is actually an advertising write off) and implies if the same percent of increases of the winning purse were given to employees as raises, they would be making $1,700 per hour (now we are getting silly). At this point, I would caution all to beware of the word “percent;” it can be terribly misleading. Let’s review this point – if the tournament payout in 2018 was $13,000,000 and FedEx wanted to up the prize fund 20% for 2019, they would only need to come up with an additional $2.6 million. A 20% pay raise for all FedEx employees is a different story.
FedEx has 425,000 employees (expandedrantings.com). Average salary of a FedEx employee is $71,448 (payscale.com) or just under $35/hour. A 20% raise for all employees equates to an additional $6.1 billion dollars. Yeah, 20% in both cases but a vastly different dollar amount.
There is little point in picking apart the shortcomings of the writer’s other less than solidly prepared examples (which are evident). Even a casual reading allows one to acknowledge the writer’s real intent; pointing out the disparity between the salary level of some vs. the salary level of many. On this point I am in strong agreement with him.
Still, in an open-ended column, a writer should avoid attempts to introduce far-fetched and silly examples. Such efforts only serve to detract from the real point being presented. Contributors need to do their homework, presenting both accurate and believable data when required (i.e. read no “fake news”). Win me over – don’t turn me off by being silly.
Bill Bunger is an Avon Park resident. Guest columns are the opinion of the writer, not necessarily that of the Highlands News-Sun.^p