Monday, August 11, 2008

A Salute to the PGA Foundation

I was thrilled to spend the closing day of the PGA tournament at Oakland Hills Sunday in toasty PGA Foundation chalet #35, right on the chilly and windy 18th fairway. I owe my cushy and oh-so-comfortable surroundings to client and friend Cynthia Kidder (

The PGA folks know a winner when they see one, both on and off the course. That's why they have generously supported Cynthia Kidders' efforts with Band of Angels since she first met the acquaintace of Earnie Ellison, the PGA Foundation's business development guru (not PR guru, but he's pretty good at that, too) at the 2004 Ryder Cup.

I had the privilege of meeting and chatting at length with Earnie yesterday and was incredibly impressed with this warm, elegant man who loves golf but, even more important, loves what golf can do for underprivileged kids, kids with special needs, at-risk kids and charities that support kids - and adults. For Earnie, it's all about measuring the economic impact of golf and leveraging some of that economic impact to support worthwhile charities. That's what the PGA Foundation does and they do it sincerely and consistently, giving approximately 10% of PGA tournament earnings to important local causes, large and small. Of course, they hope to expand the game of golf and interest in the sport through their charitable giving, but that's fine. Corporate charity has a substantial, legitimate business component.

Professional golf does so many things right, steering clear of scandal, bad manners and negativity. After meeting with Earnie yesterday, I have a better idea of how they maintain their sterling reputation.

Mark Spitz Should be at the Olympics, But He Should Take the High Road There

I haven't been able to watch nearly as much of the Olympics as I would like to but I have been following them in print and on-line. One of the big stories on Yahoo today is that Mark Spitz, 1972 seven-time gold medal swimmer, is not attending the Olympics because he wasn't invited. Click the link below to read about it.;_ylt=Alurya8b6HpuEP9IKMFqBtwazJV4?slug=afp-oly2008swimusaspitz&prov=afp&type=lgns

Unequivocally, Mark Spitz should have been invited to the Olympics. He should even have a premium, reserved seat in the natatorium as he and the rest of the world watch to see if U.S. swimmer Michael Phelps will usurp Spitz's seven medal record. I think Mr. Spitz deserves accolades, attention and respect, especially by the Olympic Committee. His lack of an invitation must have been a mistake, an oversight on the part of an overworked Olmpic staffer.

However, Spitz likely would have garnered an immediate apology and offered a ride to Beijing ASAP on a private jet if his disappointment was less petulant and minus the appearance of sour grapes. I would suggest something along the lines of: "I'm deeply disappointed not to be attending the Olympics but the truth is, I was not invited to attend. If I were invited, I'd be in the stands cheering for Michael Phelps and the rest of those devoted swimmers. I'd be thrilled to be there recalling my own Olympic victories and sharing in new ones with my compatriots."

You get the picture. Of course, I could be wrong. Mr. Spitz may already be enroute to Beijing, with the Olympic Committee apologizing all over themselves. I'm certain there will be some type of response. I can't wait to read about it.