Originally Posted by phan52
Most people I know are ambivalent about the American team and their gutless performances in recent Ryder Cups. Getting beat by Euros is not the big negative that you portray it to be any more..
Isn't that the whole nub of the issue though?. If America can't win it stops watching. Roll that forward. What happens to golf in the US if Americans can't win big tournaments? Game Over insert new credit?
Isn't this why the whole sporting landscape of America is dominated by domestic sports that only America plays, where there is no international interest or competition, and why it fosters such an inward looking world view. I think the Ryder Cup's peak intensity was the late 80's up until 1999 when America tended to resort to borderline tactics. In fact I might as well repeat what was said enough times, at the time, "America cheated". So when they still couldn't win thoughout the last decade, they increasingly withdrew from it (they've returned a lot of tickets as I understand it). The same things happened in the heavyweight division, tennis, and track and field of course. I don't think it's unique to golf
I do happen to think however, that as fast as American interest in the Ryder Cup waned, it can be recaptured again, but it's going to require America to start winning. The public will associate with success I think, and not losers, which is what your Ryder Cup teams have become. It's also going to require players to commit to winning it properly and go into training camps and prepare with a much harder edge than they've currently shown. But for me this is the beguiling prospect. There is a clear void in the American sporting landscape regarding international competition. Ryder Cup is one of the few exceptions. There is an opportunity here for the PGA. Look at how football momentarily captured the country's imagination this summer. And that's a sport in which you have no real tradition.
I think as the world changes though America's influence on golf as 'the' market will decline. As has already been referenced, China will grow in its importance, and if golf continues to develop across Europe it too will develop a bigger participation base. Western Europe has a bigger population than the USA, and ultimately this could start to feed through into more players and an even bigger performance differential. So long as America continues to put the prize money up, she'll continue to host the events that attract the best (a bit like how the English premiership attracts the best footballers) but there'll be no obvious gain to the hosting nation other than funding overseas players
I'm not so sure Skydogs points are unfair though. They might not sound palatable at one level, but I think there's more than just a grain of truth in them. America will always support a home grown talent above an interloper. A vast majority of countries will. I do feel however that what others have countered with is also likely to be true. The Nike machine sells globally, and there are massive markets opening up which dwarf America in their potential, and where brand loyalty has yet to be established. These markets don't have homegrown talent so they'll adopt the leading players of their generation.
The question therefore might be one of how important will it be for the golfing superstars of the future to be mega big in the US?
FWIW, I think it will remain the dominant market for at least 25 years, but after that? who knows