Golf is Great without Tiger

State of Golf Today

I wrote last week about the Tiger Woods Problem in Golf (key point: Tiger Woods is the Problem). This weekend’s phenomenal golf was a prime example of the problem plaguing American sports fans that watch golf. There is a distinction between golf fans and sports-fans-that-watch-golf. Golf fans have moved on from Tiger long ago. Yeah, they loved to be cool and hip when Tiger was on top of it all. Suddenly their sport was making top sports headlines and water cooler talk. But they all saw Tiger for what he was. Selfish, self-absorbed and a self-promoter. Was he a great golfer? Yes! Probably the second greatest ever. Was he gracious to the fans, no. Was he giving of his time and charisma to the sport outside himself, no. Was he beloved on tour by his fellow players, no. Since the Fall of Tiger, golf fans have new loyalties and new story lines. But sports fans see only the surface of that golfing world. And only if they stay tuned long enough to embrace the beauty of it could they move on from Tiger, too. Tiger Woods is like the Iron Man of the Marvel Universe. Some say he is the greatest, he started the franchise (sort of). He opened the world of Marvel for fans to love Captain America, Thor and the Avengers. But if you stopped watching Marvel when Tony Stark no longer graces the scene you’re missing out on great Hollywood action. If you insisted on only Iron Man you would never meet Peter Quill or Doctor Strange or Black Panther. You would have tuned out insisting on only the greatness of Stark. Infinity War That is where golf is now. Yeah, Tiger Woods was a phenomenol player. But if you only tune in for him you are missing out on greatness right before you. Currently, the Majors are all held by Americans who are under the age of 27. Patrick Reed holds the Masters, Brooks Koepka the U.S. Open, Jordan Spieth the British and Justin Thomas the PGA. If you don’t know who these players are, are you not upset with sports journalism for failing to tell you how amazing American golf is right now? Are you not intrigued to know who these top golfers are (3 are from Texas). Also the #1 Player in the World is also American Dustin Johnson. Are you not yet intrigued?

There is a whole new crop of golfers that were inspired by Woods yet are nothing like him. No, they don’t have his dominance or his mystique. But they are fan friendly, signing autographs and sharing high fives.

Watson Cheering on Reed
Bubba Watson stayed behind to watch Patrick Reed win his first Major.

They are rivals and friends who come out and cheer each other on, show respect and appreciation for their competitors.

They even vacation together.

This whole new crop of golfers are wonders to behold in their own right, if you will give them the respect and time.

But sports media and sports-fans-that-watch-golf want Tiger or nothing. To their own detriment

Jordan SPieth signing autographs
The new crop of golfers are much more fan friendly and engaging than the generation before them.

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