A former winner of the John Deere Classic is the subject of a book for his two decades of leadership at the PGA Tour. Deane Beman won the tournament in 1971 and 1972 when it was known as the Quad Cities Open and later went on to serve as commissioner of the PGA Tour from 1974 to 1994.
Adam Schupak, is author of the book “Deane Beman: Golf’s driving force”, which chronicles Beman’s efforts to make the PGA Tour one of the nation’s most watched professional sports. Schupak says Beman “changed the trajectory of the tour” and made it into the billion dollar business it is today.
He says bowling got bigger ratings than golf when Beman took over, and tennis was a more popular sport. Schupak says televising golf was the most expensive sport to broadcast because of the way it is laid out. But he says Beman create the corporate sponsor model that took it from being the most expensive to broadcast to being the most profitable.
Schupak says the corporate sponsorship made the assets of the tour go from $400,000 when Beman took over to $260-million when he retired in 1994. Schupak says Beman’s work has allowed more professional golfers to make a good living playing the sport.
When Beman played, it was “subsistence living” as there were a few stars, but the rest of the players drove themselves to tournaments and had to make the cut to get into the next event. Schupak says Beman has the vision of making golf a bigger sport.
Schupak writes for Golf Week Magazine and is covering the John Deere Classic this week.