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Where Would Golf Be...........

post #1 of 48
Thread Starter 

We all know what Tiger Woods has done for the game of golf. Mostly positive, with some negatives thrown in there too. However, what if there had never been a Tiger Woods. Where would golf be right now?  How would some of the great players over the past 20 years impacted the game?  

post #2 of 48

Golf would likely be where tennis is today.  Tennis had it's run of popularity in the U.S.A. when Conners and McEnroe were having their epic battles and all the girls thought Agassi was hot but has since faded into near oblivion.  No one from the US has stepped up and as such tennis gets little attention from the major networks except for Wimbledon and US Open.

 

Tigers dominance made everyone pay attention to golf for a while because we all want to watch history being made, he also broke down a lot of racial barriers to the sport and got minorities more interested.  If there wasn't any Tiger I doubt we'd have seen all those golf courses built in the last 15 years and we'd likely not be discussing the decline of golf today because it would have never had the huge peak it did when Tiger was in his prime.

post #3 of 48

I don't know that it's been proven that Tiger was responsible for much of anything.

 

He may have just happened to come along at a time when golf was going to boom regardless. Minorities still don't play a lot more golf. I read a few articles a few years ago that talked about how, due to the boom in the economy and so on, golf would have boomed along with it whether Tiger had existed or not.

 

So golf might be exactly where it is now.

post #4 of 48

Well, I started playing golf Before Tiger came along, so there you have it...:-D 

post #5 of 48
I think you might not see some of the "bomber" mold. The modern, athletic players. Such as Dustin Johnson, Gary Woodland, Camilo Villegas, Jamie Lovemark. Just these big, strong crushers of the ball. Tiger kind of paved the way for them.
post #6 of 48
I think Nike as a brand had more to do with the golf boom vs that of Tiger. IMO, minorities and younger people related more with the "swoosh", and the players in other sports who it represented (Air Jordan et al), and decided to give the game a try. If Tiger signed with Reebok, I don't think nearly as many brand conscious teens/minorities/18-35 year olds would have given golf much of a thought. Now did Woods still play a huge part? Without question.
post #7 of 48

Tiger's influence helped with the surge in golf interest, but the robust and then bust economy was the largest factor in the increase and drop in the number of golfers.  Let's not forget that Tiger was the Player of the Year in 2013 and the number of golfers still dropped.  I suspect that without Tiger we would have had a somewhat less frenzied building of new courses,  and the economy would have us just about where we are right now in terms of number of golfers.  But the supply in many areas would still exceed the demand.

post #8 of 48
Quote:
Originally Posted by Infamous 273 View Post

I think Nike as a brand had more to do with the golf boom vs that of Tiger. I

Oh yes, certainly.:-$

As soon as the guys in the 'hood saw that Nike made golf clubs, they suddenly though it was a cool sport, hence the boom.

post #9 of 48
Quote:
Originally Posted by Shorty View Post

Oh yes, certainly.f3_laugh.gif
As soon as the guys in the 'hood saw that Nike made golf clubs, they suddenly though it was a cool sport, hence the boom.

Perhaps it was the aborigine in the outback? I can never get my stories straight.
post #10 of 48
Tiger raised awareness and probably gave it a viewing to people who would have scoffed it off without him. Some of those people stuck with it. Aside from that, I don't know. I don't know enough about the numbers for the past 20 years on the golf business side to know.

But I think people who otherwise would not have tried it, probably did because of him.
post #11 of 48

I think what Tiger really did was bring a ton of money into the game.  Because he drew such high ratings and attendance, tournament purses went up and up.  In 1990, Greg Norman was the money list leader @ $1,165,477.  This year the top 81 players made more than that.  I think if Tiger were to suddenly announce he was never going to play again - we'd eventually see tournament purses go down . or at least not substantially increase for a very long time.  

 

There are probably some players playing today that might not have chosen golf if Tiger never came along.  Maybe the tour average driving distance would be a little less.  Maybe the golf courses would be a little shorter.  True - there are tons of long hitters and there always have been . .but Tiger caused courses to "Tiger Proof" themselves in the early 2000's.  I think Tiger's early dominance inspired a generation of golfers (even more) obsessed with distance.       

 

  

post #12 of 48

I can't speak to whether Tiger was the cause of the boom or not.  But I do know that my 84 year old friend, maiden aunt of my next door neighbor, still calls him "My Tiger".  She has never played golf but watches every tournament he is in.  That is something.

post #13 of 48

It would be a very, very different game with much less interest from people of my age, and the great young pros we see would probably not be, many of whom have pointed to him as an influence early on, the game owes it all to Tiger, he's the GOAT IMO for this reason alone.

post #14 of 48

I had zero interest in golf pre Tiger.  Where I was raised Golf was seen as an elitist activity only for the wealthy.  The kids that played had wealthy parents and sucked at the main sports.  I came from a poor home and played Basketball and Football.  I did not step a foot on a golf course until my mid twenties when I had some money to get started at the game.  Tiger made me tune in to watch him play even though I had never swung a club.  It was awesome seeing a great minority athlete that was my age play golf at an elite level.  Nike also helped legitimize the sport amongst the masses and made golf seem "cooler" to play.

 

Who knows where golf would be right now without Tiger, but I know that several folks I have played with did not have much interest until he came along including myself.  Golf owes Tiger ALOT (putting his overall character to the side).  The touring pros of today owe him everything because he got the purse sizes to where they are at now.  Several pros on both the men and women's side have become very wealthy because of what Tiger brought to the game.  They all should hope he can come back strong again because if Tiger is playing well the TV ratings boom along with the popularity of the sport and everyone in Golf wins when that happens.

post #15 of 48
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by newtogolf View Post
 

Golf would likely be where tennis is today.  Tennis had it's run of popularity in the U.S.A. when Conners and McEnroe were having their epic battles and all the girls thought Agassi was hot but has since faded into near oblivion.  No one from the US has stepped up and as such tennis gets little attention from the major networks except for Wimbledon and US Open.

 

Tigers dominance made everyone pay attention to golf for a while because we all want to watch history being made, he also broke down a lot of racial barriers to the sport and got minorities more interested.  If there wasn't any Tiger I doubt we'd have seen all those golf courses built in the last 15 years and we'd likely not be discussing the decline of golf today because it would have never had the huge peak it did when Tiger was in his prime.

I can agree with this post. All the others have merit too.  

post #16 of 48

Tennis is doing just fine globally.  Better than it ever has.  So I don't know why it's being used as an example, since the OP didn't specify the US market.  And as far as entertainment, tennis is great right now.  I've never enjoyed watching more than the last several years.  An absolute golden age in both quality of play and champions.  I'm watching the US Open right now, in fact.

 

I'm frankly growing weary of these state-of-the-game discussions.  I love the fact that I can get a weekend tee time the day before, as opposed to waking up at 7am a week in advance to book.  I'm thrilled that green fees have been flat.  And when I turn on The Masters on a Sunday, still feels like a pretty goddamn important sporting event to me.  I couldn't care less about equipment company revenues or whether or not the Golf Channel can no longer do an on-site postgame show from Scotland.  

 

I remember the early 90s, pre-Tiger.  All those majors were televised and I was intensely interested.  Twenty years later, same thing.

post #17 of 48
Quote:
Originally Posted by Aguirre View Post
 

Tennis is doing just fine globally.  Better than it ever has.  So I don't know why it's being used as an example, since the OP didn't specify the US market.  And as far as entertainment, tennis is great right now.  I've never enjoyed watching more than the last several years.  An absolute golden age in both quality of play and champions.  I'm watching the US Open right now, in fact.

 

I'm frankly growing weary of these state-of-the-game discussions.  I love the fact that I can get a weekend tee time the day before, as opposed to waking up at 7am a week in advance to book.  I'm thrilled that green fees have been flat.  And when I turn on The Masters on a Sunday, still feels like a pretty goddamn important sporting event to me.  I couldn't care less about equipment company revenues or whether or not the Golf Channel can no longer do an on-site postgame show from Scotland.  

 

I remember the early 90s, pre-Tiger.  All those majors were televised and I was intensely interested.  Twenty years later, same thing.

I think we're talking about golf in the U.S. If that's the case, then the tennis argument doesn't hold much sway. I'm 32, and I can count the number of people I know (who didn't play high school or college tennis) who care about professional tennis on about two fingers (myself being one).  On one hand I totally get your point about it being easier for us to play; the last thing I want is thousands more people crowding golf courses in jeans who've never picked up a club and are only there to try it because they saw someone on TV do it.  BUT, because I love the game I know this mindset is absolutely terrible for its future.  This is the same attitude the cranky old bastards at my club had when the club hired a new (way younger GM) and started to actively recruit people my age.  After a few years we have a vibrant(ish) membership again; the tournaments are always full, the pool is packed on weekends, and the tennis courts are always full.  Compare that to several of the super high-end clubs in the LA area, and jesus christ they're like retirement homes.  How are you going to keep the game going if you never infuse new blood? Old people die, and there are younger people to replace them, they passions and hobbies die with them.  

post #18 of 48
Quote:
Originally Posted by Aguirre View Post
 

Tennis is doing just fine globally.  Better than it ever has.  So I don't know why it's being used as an example, since the OP didn't specify the US market.  And as far as entertainment, tennis is great right now.  I've never enjoyed watching more than the last several years.  An absolute golden age in both quality of play and champions.  I'm watching the US Open right now, in fact.

 

I'm frankly growing weary of these state-of-the-game discussions.  I love the fact that I can get a weekend tee time the day before, as opposed to waking up at 7am a week in advance to book.  I'm thrilled that green fees have been flat.  And when I turn on The Masters on a Sunday, still feels like a pretty goddamn important sporting event to me.  I couldn't care less about equipment company revenues or whether or not the Golf Channel can no longer do an on-site postgame show from Scotland.

 

I remember the early 90s, pre-Tiger.  All those majors were televised and I was intensely interested.  Twenty years later, same thing.

My comments were limited to the United States only since I have no sense of the popularity of golf or tennis in other countries, I should have been more specific.

 

In the US, I see and hear very little about tennis, admittedly I'm not looking for it either.  I know when Conners, McEnroe and Agassi played, their faces were all over the news and it seemed like every match they were in was on a major network.  These days you might hear about the Williams sisters but otherwise tennis seems to get even less coverage from the mainstream media than golf does.

 

I think we as golfers have become hyper sensitive to the state of golf because the golf manufacturers are panicked and making their problem ours.   TM is losing revenue so King goes on HBO Sports and announces golf is dying, we need to fix it or else there won't be any more golf courses.  The PGA sees this and starts to rally behind them, along with retail stores and golf courses.  At this point everyone is Chicken Little, but the reality is TM had a huge boost in revenue with their white drivers.  Their decline is not due as much to golf dying as it is the fact that they haven't been as successful in developing a new marketing campaign to sucker people to buy their new drivers.

 

I agree the industry is "right-sizing" and some golf courses are closing, but in many cases, those courses should have never been built because there wasn't proper due diligence done to demonstrate they were sustainable.

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