I didn't consider what a "replacement TV golf tour" might be, so maybe I should rephrase my opinion a bit. I think that seeing top-level golf on TV regularly is good for golf. Whether its the PGA Tour or top level amateurs or women or whatever, I think high-level golf on TV is good for the game of golf.
If there wasn't any televised golf at that level, we probably wouldn't have huge concerns over distance, nobody would be aware of how far the ball CAN be hit. We almost certainly would have slow play. Its possible it would be less of a problem, but we'll always have some players who are faster or slower than others, and conflicts between them. Who knows how our time would be spent, my best guess is that those of us who want to see sports on TV would have found something else to watch.
For costs of play, and of equipment, perhaps we wouldn't have seen the same level of technological advancements. Without a big publicity platform, perhaps there wouldn't have been the demand, perhaps we'd have fewer golfers, and fewer golf courses. I just don't know.
And last, I believe very little of my opinion relates to Tiger. My addiction to golf, and my enjoyment of watching the PGA Tour on TV both predate tiger by a couple of decades. As you say, without golf on TV its possible that Tiger would have excelled in a different sport, or in a completely different field.
This is a good question....I voted yes but....I agree with with the whole "watching the best players", "showcasing great golf courses" etc. but I think it also has a few negatives. I can't remember how many times I've stood on a tee or in a fairway and saying (about the group I'm waiting on), "these guys need to quit watching golf on T.V. and get moving". I love watching a guy look at his putt for a double bogey from three different angles and then plum-bob it and then miss by two feet. I also come down (against) on the guy who goes out and spends big $ on "new and improved" equipment so he can hit a longer banana ball into the woods instead of dropping that $500.00 on a series of lesson so he can actually learn how to play the game. All of that being said, I love to watch all levels of golf. I am willing to spend $ to attend tournaments and try out some of the new equipment (and purchase it if it improves my game). The tour definitely drives golf at all levels (both good and some bad). I'm pretty sure, however, I would still play the game if there was not PGA tour to watch on television. I'm not 100% yes on my vote but I'm not a 100% no either.
This seems to assume that something else wouldn't exist if the PGA Tour itself didn't exist, no?
But, taking it the other way. Imagine a world in which there was no PGA Tour? Would we even have a Distance Insights report, because some clubs may not have chosen to chase distance and build 7500 yard courses? Would we have slow play? Would we have our weekends free for the six hours or more that some of us watch golf? Would we be paying less to play golf, with lower equipment costs, green fees, etc.?
How much of us being glad that we have the PGA Tour is Tiger credited with, as without the PGA Tour or anything like it, we may have never heard of him - he might be in heavy equipment sales or something