Highlighting Talent to Grow The Game
The stigma around golf in 2017 seems to be, grow the game. They recently made some changes that make the game a little less rule based, more casual. But one thing the PGA has right now, that they could use a lot more to their advantage is talent.
Whether it is crazy dunks in the NBA, moon shots in the MLB, huge hits in the NFL or a nasty move in the NHL flashy plays and flashy players appeal to the casual fans.
The PGA is loaded with talent right now and that is one way they can appeal to the masses. So what parts of the Pros games can the average American watch and enjoy like LeBron James dunking a basketball.
Here are of the PGA Tour we can highlight so the average American will tune into more golf on their weekend afternoons.
Dustin Johnson off the tee (obviously): This should be in every ad, every highlight, and every pro shop in America. This man CRUSHES the ball off the team unlike any human we’ve seen. Standing at 6’4” and weighing 190 pounds, it is easy to believe he crushes the ball. But you have to see it to believe it. Last year he averaged a measly 313 yards off the tee. If someone can watch Bryce Harper smack home runs, I’m sure they’d enjoy seeing a mammoth human crush drives down the fairway.
Phil Mickelson’s wedge game: If anyone has picked up a golf club they realize it isn’t as east as it looks. So when you see Phil flop a golf ball over a 50-foot tree at the WGC Mexico last weekend, you realize that isn’t easy. Whether he’s splashing bunker shots to under five feet or hitting green-side flop shots out of the thick Augusta rough, this guys short game is amazing. It is equal to Sidney Crosby dangling a goalie on a break-away goal.
Jordan Spieth: No reason to highlight one part of his game. He has so many wins over the past couple of years for a reason. It is hard to call him the best in the game right now because of how good people are on tour (see next section). But that being said, this guy is so good it is hard not to marvel at his game. Ranked 6th in the world Spieth seems to win it when it matters. He has virtually dominated Augusta two years in a row (we all know what happened) and is in prime position to do so again this season. With three top three finishes already in a superstar filled 2017 season, Spieth is right where he wants to be 4th in the Fed Ex standings. This season he is averaging a 69 on the scorecard and is second in the PGA in GIR’s. He is a scoring machine, what the fans love to see.
Competition: Watching the Warriors win by 30 gets old. So does watching people walk away with double digit stroke wins on Sunday. It makes that final hole boring; it makes the whole Sunday experience lose its luster. This year has not disappointed though. In this calendar year we have had seven different winners with Justin Thomas and Dustin Johnson. This season the winner has only won by 3, 7, 1, 3, playoff (WASTE MANAGEMENT), 4, 5, 4, and 1. No one is running away with tournaments and it is making Sundays fun to watch. No one wants to watch a blow out. But people will watch Dustin Johnson on the 18th tee when he needs to birdie or better to win. It is the kind of drama people feed off.
Make it fun: The European Tour has the right idea. They have added many things to make the game fun like extensive player introductions and allowing players to wear shorts in practice rounds. Granted the PGA tour just installed a rule that allows them to wear shorts in practice, so they are getting the idea. But why not lighten up a little PGA and USGA? Let the guys express themselves a little but. Let them be personalities people can root for. Lets drop this douchey stuck up attitude too much of America has toward golf. If every tournament and every hole was like 16 at the Waste Management Open… I have a feeling golf may be a bit more appealing to people. That hole is an absolute zoo and players and fans feed off of each other. After Augusta, 16th hole at the Waste Management Open may be the golf event I want to see before I die.
The PGA Tour and USGA seem to be in the right direction with recent rules changes and the bright future of all the young talent. We’ll see what the rest of 2017 has in store.