Discette and ThreePutt are, of course, correct. Many of us said it for years and years. But there was no fighting the establishment.
Here was PDGA "Admin" (a more powerful Admin you will never see) Hoeniger in 2004 on pdga.com:
The current Am merch heavy system has been a huge factor in the growth of the sport as a whole and PDGA membership numbers through the 1990s and into the 21st C.
However as Am entry fees and payouts have continued to increase it has resulted in fewer players turning pro, as many Ams with games that 10 years ago wouldve seen them playing Pro, have grown to love the stacks of merch they receive.
One thing we will looking at as we plan the 05 Tour during the fall summit (end September in Augusta) is reductions in entry fees first and foremost for Ams, but also for Pros at events below the NT or A tier level.
I always found that first paragraph to be disturbing. He's claiming the system was a huge factor in the growth of the sport AS A WHOLE (thus including everything outside the pdga and tournaments!!). I felt the system HURT the growth more than anything. At least the long-term growth. I never even realized there might be some logic in those next couple paragraphs until I re-read it today.