At the time that Americans first started playing their form of football in the late 1800's, I doubt that soccer (or futbol) had ever been heard of in the US. Quite frankly, despite what GD is saying, I don't see the popularity of soccer in the US. I don't know a single sports fan who has any interest in it at all. I find it incredibly boring to watch. I know a number of young adults who grew up playing in school and recreational leagues while growing up (I even played a little bit of goaltender in junior high), and they don't even like the game as a spectator sport.
I don't think I've ever met a person who had been to a Colorado Rapids game, yet I know many who are avid Broncos, Rockies, Nuggets, or Avalanche fans.
Not sure if the popularity is up among kids playing it - don't see how it could be higher seeing as how everybody played it when we were kids - but it seems like its still pretty popular.
But I'm more talking about Major League Soccer, and international soccer. Like Turtleback mentions below ... you can get live EPL games on TV every weekend on NBC Sports Network, and they show highlights on Sportscenter, and scores all of the time on the ESPN ticker. This may not sound like much, but you don't have to go back very far - I'm going to say about 2 years AT MOST - to find a time where you really had to search to seek out soccer here in America.
I follow the English Premier League assiduously. I am a Liverpool man. I always liked soccer (started watching in college many yars ago as my school had a top division 2 team). I went to Cosmos games at Giants Stadium in their heyday when they had Pele and then Franz Beckenbauer, Giorgio Chinaglia, and Carlos Alberto. But now since the NBCSportsnetwork started covering the Premier League seriously I've gotten more hooked. At a time where the 30 minutes of actual action in an NFL game are stretched out to 3-1/2 or even 4 hours, it is refreshing to watch a 90+ minute sports event in 2 hours with time for a halftime and pre and post game wraps.
As to the topic, Bobby Jones, Walter Hagen, Jack Nicklaus, and Arnold Palmer all called it the British Open in print, so that is good enough for me. Because without those guys, and what they did there, I have doubts as to whether it would be considered a major at all, today. Other than by courtesy, it certainly was NOT a true major from about 1930 to about 1960.
This is incorrect. ................ Football games actually only have about 12 minutes of actual game play per 3-4 game.
Also, the Seattle Sounders average attendance for 2013: 44,038 per game. That's impressive no matter which way you slice it. The league as a whole averages over 18,000 per game, which ain't too shabby either.
Anyways ... back to BRITISH open.