Over the years, we’ve been graced with the presence of amazing golf from not just Tiger Woods, but a host of other golf celebrities coming down the funnel that has been opened up by the man himself.
Unfortunately, we are seeing the closing of the funnel, as Tiger struggles to cobble together a game resembling golf, and along with him, the relevance of PGA. Make no mistake – PGA needs a top player in US. There is where the market is. Rory is a good golfer, but he’s all there is. He plays well, but frankly, I don’t even bother watching him. He lacks the inherent charisma. To be honest, I would prefer to watch Sergio Garcia or even Bubba Watson compared to him. Sure, they are a-holes but so was Tiger in his prime.
The problem with PGA is that it is becoming irrelevant. It always has been, actually. Golf is a game better played than watched. The problem is always that non-golfers won’t watch golf. It’s like cricket. Nobody watches cricket except players. Whereas for football it’s different. There is a sense of attachment to the team, to the position and travails of the team. You see oversized, fat, obese flers walking around the mamak at midnight gobbling 2 maggie goreng and wearing the jersey for Wayne Rooney. That’s why universally, 98% of the people who watch football, can’t actually play football. In fact, they can’t play anything at all, except maybe PS2 and computer games. But that’s fine, because football is simple and watchable and more importantly, there is a time limit of 90 minutes to it so at least we can confirm with our wives we’ll be back home to clean our son’s crap from the toilet.
Golf is too variable and we have 100s of golfers all around the golf course. TV can’t just follow one person, so most of the time, we spend watching players we don’t give a crap about. Only Tiger had managed to transcend that and create an attachment with worldwide viewers. With him gone, the entertainment disappears. Tiger is bigger than golf, and nobody will be able to carry the game as well as he did for a good part of two decades. I mean, some may not say it, but 5 years from now, golf will return to oblivion in which it was dragged out by a black-thai-chinese-malaysian-spanish mixed guy who wears red every Sunday and pummels his competitors mercilessly into the ground. Post-woods, the game will need to identify his successor. What sort of successor?
1) Anti-establishment – Woods was a misnomer. As someone said, the world became upside down when the best golfer was a black and the best rapper was a white (Eminem). At a time when every player in golf was white, Tiger came and just drove the white supremacy down the toilet where it should have always been. Fuzzy Zoeller, unaware that his racism would cause so much of a stir is best remembered by making a joke about collards and fried chicken when it came to Woods.
2) He was damn good – Woods was an extremely good golfer. Augusta chip. Driving the greens. Hitting it further than any human being at that time. Recovery shots. Amazing putts. He was golf’s first and only mega-celebrity.
3) He was honest to God, arrogant – Woods was more than proud. He was arrogant. We needed people to step on others. Golf was filled with nice guys who were a-holes in the private lives. Woods made it known that he was an a-hole and proud of it. His fist pumps and celebrations wasn’t designed to just look good for TV, it was driving into your heart, and saying, “God, you suck so bad, why do you even bother to show up?”. I mean, how often have we emulated his pointing to his putt as it goes in, or him slamming down his driver in disgust?
4) He was raw – his emotions, his life, even his caddie for the most part – they were raw. He didn’t have the upbringing of uppity class jackasses like David Love the Third. He ‘seemed’ from the ghetto (he wasn’t, but seeming is good enough). Golf had too long been inaccessible to the public – the old guard liked that, but obviously it does not sell.
That’s why when he is struggling now, everyone has a type of schadenfreude. Yet, everyone knows that if he doesn’t recover, the game ends with him. There is no one else to carry the 4 things that drive up golf and make people who don’t play golf, watch.
The end of Tiger Woods means the End of Golf. It might sound prefunctory to say that when we have a bunch of young studs coming out – but the truth is, golf as a game was elevated due to Woods. Without him, it’s just a game not even worthy of mention in the Olympics. Golfers are fine with that of course, because our addiction in the game comes from playing, not from watching. But for the game to be globally accepted? It needs someone like Tiger. Without him, golf is consigned back to obscurity the way Cricket or lawn bowl is.