Golf has always been a sport associated with the wealthy and is perceived to be boring and not fun by many. Once Tiger Woods arrived on the scene, everything got a little different and he was able to bring people to the game that had never even thought about touching a golf club. Golf was doing well into the mid 2000’s and Tiger was leading the charge.
Then that fatal night in November of 2009 happened and the golf world was left stagnant. Rory McIlroy was the next big superstar to lead golf forward, but he hadn’t arrived yet. In fact it took two years till McIlroy finally got his major championship at the 2011 U.S. Open.
We have had a few good years recently as a golf community with such great young talents and it seems as if golf is headed in the right direction. Jack Nicklaus recently voiced his opinion that golf is back in an interview with Joel Walker of the Troy Daily News.
“The game of golf hit its peak about 2006,” he said. “We lost about five million golfers after 2006, from about 30 to 25 million. But I think golf has made a turnaround. I think the game is coming back. People that have come back are people who really want to play golf and be involved in the game.”
The numbers are up for debate as golf clubs seem to come up with their own numbers when figuring out how many rounds they have each year. The superstars in golf right now are great for people who ALREADY play golf, but not for the people who we need to start getting into the game.
Tiger Woods was and still is a transcendent figure in the game of golf. Whenever he plays people turn on the tv, they show up to the tournaments to watch and they go out to play golf. Name another professional golfer who has that sort of influence on the younger generation? Many would say Jordan Spieth, Rickie Fowler or even Rory McIlroy, but I would say that they don’t do it.
As evidence, we just had our biggest golf tournament of the year last week and people didn’t watch it. Not even Spieth’s meltdown on Sunday. The final round of the Masters received the 3rd lowest rating since the 1993 Masters.
Taken from sportsmediawatch.com
“Final round coverage of The Masters drew a 7.7 final rating and 12.4 million viewers on CBS Sunday afternoon, down 12% in ratings and 11% in viewership from last year (8.7, 14.0M) but up 12% in both measures from 2014, which was the lowest rated final round since 1993 (6.9, 11.1M).
The 7.7 rating ranks as the third-lowest for final round coverage of The Masters since ’93, ahead of 2014 and 2004 (7.3), and is tied as the ninth-lowest since Nielsen began providing ratings for the event in 1957. The Masters has now earned one of its ten lowest final round ratings in two of the past three years. It should be noted that those two years had in common the absence of Tiger Woods.”
It’s pretty clear to me that golf is not back and we still have a way to go before we get anywhere near what it once was with Tiger in his prime.