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Why Peter Malnati is My New Favourite Golfer

By: | Thu 28 Mar 2024

I have a new favourite golfer. His name is Peter Malnati, somebody most of you will not have heard of until he won the Valspar Championship in such emotional circumstances. As he embraced his young son on the final green, the tears readily flowed as he enjoyed the moment, celebrating a second victory he thought would never come. 

It was life changing for the American. It secured his place on the PGA Tour until the end of 2026, it earned him an invitation to play in The Masters, got him entry into all the signature events and to the Tournaments of Champions next January. It also gave his bank balance a healthy boost - but that was the last thing on his mind. 

As a member of the PGA Tour players policy board, he had some stuff to say ahead of his victory about LIV Golf and the state of the professional game.

And he has had plenty more to say since. Ahead of the Houston Open, the 36-year-old American once again addressed the whole subject of money and golf. He did not mince his words and he made a lot of sense.

He made the point that when youngsters follow a sport they do so because they identify heroes and look up to them. And if they then start playing that sport and achieve a level of competence, the last thing on most of their minds is the amount of money they can earn. It is all about following dreams.

Malnati told Sky Sports: "We can all probably remember when we were kids, and we were all kids at different times, but the things that moved us that we watched.

"People are just sick of the narrative in golf being about, you know, contracts on LIV, purses on the PGA Tour, guaranteed comp on the PGA Tour. I think people are so sick of that.

"They want to see people who are the best in the world at what they do it at a high level and celebrate that, celebrate the athleticism, celebrate the achievement.

"Obviously this is a business and to the top players who drive a lot of the value in this business, we've got to compensate them fairly. I think we're doing that above and beyond, and the narrative, the storylines, the conversation needs to come back to the product on the course and what we do.

"No kid when they were watching Michael Jordan dreamed of having his salary, they didn't care about that. They dreamed of being in that moment, hitting that shot. I think that's what our fans care about too and that's what they want to see.

"I hope those tears that I was crying on that 18th green had nothing to do with my share of that, what was it, an $8.4m purse. My tears had nothing to do with my share of that.

"I'm going to enjoy it and we're going to use it to do a lot of good in this world, but it had nothing to do with that. And I don't think our fans care about that either. I hope that connected with some people and I think everyone out here who plays and competes would agree with me on that.

"I just hope that the story that we tell can come back to the best athletes in the world competing on the biggest stage in the world and doing it to show off this amazing skill that we have that can be so entertaining for people. I want that to be our story."

I suspect that most of Malnati’s peers feel exactly the same way. Of course a tournament victory can provide financial stability and change people’s lives but that’s not why these men play the game. It is all about competing. Malnati is right - we are all sick to the back teeth of hearing about the sums swashing around the sport. Let’s get back to playing for the glory game.

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Tags: PGA Tour FedEx Cup

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