The Passing Of An Era for Golf

It does not take a whole lot for Tiger Woods to get his name in the newspapers.  If he goes to a driving range and hits a bucket of balls without grimacing; that is a story; if he volunteers to do something for the PTA at his kids’ school, that is a story.  After all, if he can do such wonderful things out there on a golf course, he must also be able of all sorts of other great accomplishments in real life, right?  There is a segment of the press that is ready to lionize everything associated with Tiger Woods.

At the same time there is a dark side to the media too.  If Tiger Woods gets a parking ticket, it must mean that he was with a hooker and lost track of time; if he hits a bad shot in a tournament and utters an word even slightly less polite than “Dagnubit”, then it shows he is a crass and uncultured boor.  With that as a background, consider that Tiger Woods was arrested in Florida earlier this week and charged with DUI.  He passed the alcohol breath test but police found him in his car at 3:00 AM asleep at the wheel with the motor running.

Not wishing to take sides with the “Tiger-Haters” or the “Tiger-Acolytes” here, can we simply agree that asleep at the wheel of a car with the motor running at 3:00 AM is not a good look?   As this story has evolved, it now appears that a combination of prescription meds could have led to the situation the police came upon.  I think this is a sad state of affairs from several perspectives:

  • There was a time when Tiger Woods was golf’s icon.  If Tiger Woods did it, then it had to be good for golf as a sport and good for anyone who played golf because that associated them with Tiger Woods.  Those days are about 10 years in the rear-view mirror.
  • Tiger Woods was raised to be a golf prodigy.  He succeeded at that but failed at just about all other aspects of “growing up” into a mature and responsible adult.  Now, his body is failing him and he no longer can be the manifestation of a golf prodigy.

I am not a psychologist – and even if I were I have not examined Tiger Woods in any way – so consider this next statement as AMATEURISH  at best:

  • I think Tiger Woods needs a mentor in his life – even though he is in his 40s – to assist him in catching up to what an adult male of that age needs to understand and to do in modern society.  I am not convinced that he can do this on his own and his father has passed.

Looking at a bigger picture regarding what this means to “Golfdom”, this DUI incident may not have come at a worse time.  For the last 20 years or so, golf has marketed/pushed the Tiger Woods/Phil Mickelson rivalry as the pinnacle of its sport.  Ignore the fact that the rivalry was lopsided; it was the golf narrative for a VERY long time.  In reality, it has been purely a fictional/nostalgic rivalry for about 3 years now because Phil Mickelson can’t play either; unless I missed one, I think his last win on the PGA Tour was in 2013.

Golf marketed the game as the rivalry between Tiger and Phil and now it is over.  Even worse for golf is the fact that the two of them have reached this point in their lives/careers without embracing the rivalry to forge some sort of friendship.  Arnold Palmer and Jack Nicklaus were intense rivals but that rivalry grew into respect and friendship.  I wonder if Tiger and Phil will be hitting ceremonial tee shots together at The Masters in 2047…

The ratings are in.  Sunday Night Football on NBC was the top rated TV show in primetime again in 2016; this is the 6th year in a row when Sunday Night Football has enjoyed that status.  In the coveted demographic of 18-49 year-olds, the NFL hit the trifecta.  The largest number of viewers in that demographic watched:

  1. Sunday Night Football – 20.3 million folks
  2. Thursday Night Football (NBC) – 17.0 million folks
  3. Thursday Night Football (CBS) – 14.7 million folks.

The NFL continues to ride tall in the saddle when it comes to sports enterprises in the US.  It would be foolhardy to say that will NEVER change but the current data certainly indicate that it will be either a long time or a cataclysmic event that will take the NFL down off its pedestal.

Earlier this week, I suggested that MLB should consider contracting to 24 teams and that one of the teams to be whacked would be the Miami Marlins.  Recall that there were stories out there that Derek Jeter and Jeb Bush – were ready to buy the team for $1.3B.  Well, it seems that they may still have some interest in buying the team but they have not yet been ready to cough up $1.3B.  A recent entry to the field of potential buyers is Tagg Romney – son of Governor Mitt Romney – but that consortium is still short of the asking price.  Here is the thing about all of these reports that gets me:

  • If you believe reporting about the Marlins as a franchise, the team is losing money year over year.
  • Part of the revenue shortfall for the Marlins is the fact that they drew fewer than $1.65 million fans last year and are on pace to do the same again this year.

The Marlins’ owner, Jeffrey Loria bought the team for about $200M back in 2002.  The NY Post says that he may need to “cut the asking price” to $1B in order to get a deal done.  I still think it would be better to do without a team in Miami.

Finally, since I was speaking of things that are priced above what they are actually worth, consider this comment from Greg Cote in the Miami Herald:

“At auction yet again: That rare 1909 T-206, the original Honus Wagner baseball card. I don’t wanna say it might be a fake, but if you look closely you can see an ESPN banner on the outfield wall.”

But don’t get me wrong, I love sports………



2 thoughts on “The Passing Of An Era for Golf”

  1. I am still trying to get over the absence of Arnold Palmer. Gee, the last few years are flying by.

    1. Doug:

      Welcome back. Have not heard from you in a while.

      The years do indeed go by more quickly as one ages. Given my station in life, what used to feel like “a year” now seems like a month-and-a-half…

Comments are closed.