Putting for Dough | Leeds Leeds Leeds | Bank Holidays

When it comes to the highlights of the golfing calendar, The Masters and The Open are clear standouts, with the US Open and US PGA Championship not too far behind. However, when it comes to prize money, the highlight for the players is, without any doubt, the FedEx Cup finale, the Tour Championship, which, assuming there are no more lightning strikes, concludes this evening at East Lake Golf Club in Atlanta. After twelve years where the overall prize pool has been $35 million, with $10 million going to the winner, this year the numbers have jumped to $60 million and $15 million, making it the biggest pay-out in golf history. There are numerous ways to contextualise this prize money. For example, the total combined purses for the whole of the 1996 season of the PGA Tour, which was the year Tiger Woods turned professional, was $65.9m; a top five finish tonight nets a player more money than winning any other 2019 golf tournament; the winner's earnings from this week alone would rank 122nd on the all-time money list and be more than Greg Norman's career earnings on the PGA Tour! Just imagine showing up to play in your club’s Bank Holiday competition tomorrow morning, playing worse than the other twenty-nine entrants and still taking home almost $400,000? The game’s gone.

Leeds has been getting plenty of news coverage over the last week or so. Ed Sheeran played to over 150,000 fans in Roundhay Park last weekend, the Ashes has been taking place at Headingley, the football team is sitting pretty at the top of the Championship and thousands of music fans have descended on Bramham Park this weekend for the Leeds Festival. It only seems right then to check in on how the Leeds office market is faring. And pretty well is the answer. Q2 2019 saw 213,000 sq. ft. taken up in the city centre, a 47% increase on the same quarter last year. This was made up of twenty-seven lettings, with the largest being the 136,000 sq. ft. pre-let to Sky Betting and Gaming/The Stars Group at 4 Wellington Place. At the half-way point of the year, city centre letting volumes are 29% higher than the same time last year, whilst more than 400,000 sq. ft. of named requirements over 10,000 sq. ft. are also widely known. However, a lack of new Grade A space is now becoming a major issue for occupiers wanting the best space. There is only 13,000 sq. ft. of new-build standing Grade A space currently available! Bad news for occupiers but good news for investors, especially with prime Leeds office rents expected to increase from £30 per sq. ft. to £32 per sq. ft. by the end of the year.

We dream about them weeks in advance, pray for good weather and then break our necks trying to escape our towns and cities to beat the dreaded traffic jams. Sadly, however, tomorrow is the final Bank Holiday until Christmas. But do we really know why they exist, other than them being something to do with the banks? Well, they were first introduced by the UK’s Bank Holidays Act in 1871, aimed at easing the pressure on workers with an extra four days off. The UK’s Banking and Financial Dealings Act of 1971 then added New Year’s Day and fixed the day of Whit Monday to the last day of May. It also changed the August bank holiday from the first Monday of the month to the last. The eight days allotted to workers in England and Wales are the lowest in the EU, where the average is 10.8 days. Only the Dutch share our obvious desire to spend as much time as possible at work! Cambodia tops the list for the most public holidays with twenty-eight each year, followed closely by Sri Lanka (twenty-five), and India and Kazakhstan with twenty-one. But if you want to make yourself feel slightly better, spare a thought for the Mexicans. Mexico is the only country to have fewer bank holidays than us with a measly seven. Furthermore, they also work the longest hours of any nationality (2,255 hours a year / 43 hours a week). Oh, and they have the US President firmly on their case!