Coronavirus: Some European Tour players will be struggling financially, says Harrington

By Sports Desk April 09, 2020

Padraig Harrington says some European Tour players, along with the majority of caddies, will now be struggling financially because of the coronavirus pandemic.

The proliferation of COVID-19 has led to a widespread halt of top-level sporting activity, with golf no exception.

Harrington, the three-time major winner and Team Europe captain for this year's Ryder Cup, believes only a few weeks without golf would leave some players further down the rankings in trouble.

But he feels the European Tour is more restricted than the more lucrative PGA Tour in what it can do to help.

Asked about possible solutions, Harrington told Stats Perform: "Obviously it's very difficult for the European Tour, they don't seem to be in a financial position to do something that's fair to every player and supports every player. 

"You can be sure there are some players on the Tour that have a month, or two or three months' living expenses and they need to make money to go past that.

"You can be pretty sure there's plenty of caddies who are close to week-to-week in terms of financial security. 

"There are people struggling out there so any ideas brought forward would be considered, but the European Tour doesn't have that financial clout.

"It is an interesting one and the PGA Tour have offered to pay some of your pension contribution back to you based on your performance.

"I know the Tour looks like it but not everyone is making that big money. There will be a few players and a significant number of caddies struggling financially. 

"It could be tough for players and I'm sure case-by-case they'd be considered by the Tour in general but they have to be fair to everybody.

"I am sure they've looked at it and discussed it and I am sure the Players' Committee would accept any proposals brought to them and again examine what would be the best."  

Harrington explained that even in normal times, golf is an expensive sport to play if you are not winning the biggest tournaments.

He said: "I often say to any of the young guys just turned professional, if you're young, free and single professional golf is a great life, there's enough money in it that you're going to survive.

"It gets tougher for the guys if you've got a partner and you've got a mortgage, you've got expenses, you've got to be playing good golf to keep yourself going.

"You can comfortably spend five grand some weeks on expenses, so you've got to be earning money." 

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