Tuesday, September 05, 2006

Tiger: Bad for Golf?

After his 5th straight win, I think it's time to ask whether Tiger's dominance is actually bad for golf?

Perhaps it's a testament to how shallow most fans' interest is in golf, that they can root for one guy to win every single weekend.

Because, otherwise, his winning week after week means that other players aren't getting the chance to improve their reps.

"Tiger vs. the Field" is a catchy way to sum up the state of golf, but when "I'll take Tiger" becomes everyone's default answer every weekend, it sucks the drama from the sport.

-- D.S.

23 comments:

The Cavalier said...

As a casual fan of golf, I'd have to say no. I never pay attention to it at all, except for when Tiger is winning.

It might hurt it for the hardcore fans who follow anyway, but I think overall it helps.

Chris UK said...

As a European, Tiger's current dominance perfectly sets up what is, for me, the biggest sporting event yet to come in 2006: the Ryder Cup. Throughout his career it's the only challenge that Tiger's failed to meet, and now, at the height of his powers, it'll be fascinating to see whether he can carry an inexperienced US team against a high-class, confident European side.

Anonymous said...

you're a moron if you think Tiger is bad for golf, short bus style.

Anonymous said...

is it Tiger is bad for golf or that all his fellow competitors are bad for golf...

knocking probably the greatest player of all time is stupid shanoff.

mattie said...

I'm another casual fan who never watches golf unless Tiger's in contention (and never even thought about watching golf until he hit the scene a decade ago). I'm not sitting around worrying about poor Phil and Vijay and the rest not being able to raise their games, or about dominance being boring (it isn't at all to me in this case). I can see why fans of the other guys are bothered, but I think this whole idea that the general public is bored of Tiger is a media invention, because *they* are bored of Tiger. Maybe if he acted more like TO the press would be happy to have a story -- because apparently, greatness in the field they're supposed to cover (sports) isn't enough -- and we wouldn't hear about how great it would supposedly be for everyone for Tiger to mix things up by losing.

Jake C said...

I think it just further proves golf is more of a mental sport than most. Other players simply collapse at the pressure. I am not a scratch golfer or pro-level by any means...but I can shoot for the stick 95% of the time and live with my situation. I never understood how PRO players on tour get scared of Tiger and their own shots. I'd rather have a 20 foot chip or bunker shot than a 65 foot put any day...be aggressive...B-E aggressive (sorry for the momentary high school relapse).

Brien said...

Tiger's dominance should be good for the game, if it serves to inspire the next generation of golfers to "Be Like Tiger".

When you hear about how Earl Woods prepared his son for big-time golf, you understand how Tiger never folds in the clutch. Tiger's dad used to heckle him mercilessly during putting practice, would do everything he could to distract young Tiger on the course ... put up every mental obstacle imaginable ... and we see the end result.

Vijay shoots a 61 on Sunday and, in the blink of seven holes on Monday, watched the tournament end in favor of Tiger. Singh simply wilted under the onslaught of birds and eagles. There's no other golfer, ever (and I was a huge Tom Watson fan in my younger days), who can get inside people's heads better that Woods.

Is he bad for golf? No. If what he has done, how he has done it, serves as the model for future golfers to follow, then the game, as a whole, will be elevated.

Best. Golfer. Ever.

Brien

Jack in the Box said...

mattie said it perfectly. As a casual fan of the sport the only time I get interested is when Tiger is in contention. Even after 10 years I still love seeing him win and crush the competition. There were several times on the front nine yesterday that I didn't even question whether he would make the birdie putt, you just knew he would. He is so unbelievably good that it makes for incredibly compelling television. It's only the media who are tired of writing and reporting the same story but I know for myself I'll never get tired of it.

Anonymous said...

As some one involved in the golf business, I think Tiger is great for the game. He is the only pro who can actually drive business. When he wins, people buy more Nike product. Balls, clothes, clubs.

Anonymous said...

"mattie said it perfectly. As a casual fan of the sport the only time I get interested is when Tiger is in contention."

And that's the exact argument for why he is bad for golf; if he isn't in a tournament people don't attend or watch. The other 200+ guys just don't matter, no matter how great they are playing. That in and of itself is not good for the sport.

eseiat said...

As someone who never watches golf, I must say that I agree with Dan here. Tiger's dominance actually keeps me even further away from watching it. Every week that I hear Tiger is near the top of the leaderboard I just think, "He's got this," and I continue on with my day. Now, if Tiger actually had some competition, I might be interested to watch that, but how it stands right now, Tiger is the MJ of golf, with golf being horribly more boring to watch than the NBA.

Steve Cos said...

Tiger bad for golf? Was Jordan bad for basketball? I do not watch a lot of golf but your comments remind me of the Williams sisters in tennis. When they burst on the scene the only competition they had was EACH OTHER. For Tiger to maintain his game this long with no real competition shows why he is one of the best athletes of all time. I agree with an earlier message. Maybe the others are bad for the game as they have not figured out how to compete against him when the pressure is on

Roger said...

Tiger is great for golf and this is why. Yesterday I went out to my favourite course, finished watching Tiger win the Bank Roll and then went out to play some golf. Instead of grabbing my driver and snap hooking it into the trees, I went with my three wood and hit it straight down the middle. In fact, I left the driver in the bag most of the round -- I shot a good score, better than usual. The only reason I did it is because I watched Tiger do it a lot during the Bank Roll and at other tourney's, the British Open for one. He makes me want to think about the course differently. How can that be a bad thing?

Hende said...

Tiger is dominating as he should, but golf is getting boring to me. The PGA Championship was like watching paint dry, and I don't see anything changing soon. Tiger is so far above the competition, there isn't even hope for backlash support to root for underdogs, except for Mickelson who disappears between Sept-Apr. The PGA will reap the rewards for now, from the casual golf viewers, but if Tiger ever takes an extended sabbatical, they're doomed.

Anonymous said...

how big was golf before tiger? I think the prize money has gone up what something like 10 fold since he's been on tour.

Golf was always a secondary sport, now when Tiger is in contention it gets elevated to Big 3 or 4 status.

Anonymous said...

I'm a casual golf-watcher and Tiger is boring to me now. I need someone to step up and at least win ONE of the next few tourneys.

My G-Ma won't watch if he's winning...that's a hoot! HA HA

Anonymous said...

saying that watching the greatest golfer ever is boring is just plain retarted.

Anonymous said...

ipso facto, your "g-ma" is retarted.

kito said...

you are reaching Dan, and you are way off on this one! Tiger is chasing history, and its awesome to watch the best golfer of not only our generation but of all time display such dominance.

When he doesn't play in a tournament, or if he is out of contention going into the final round, tv ratings take a major hit. That fact alone should tell you that Tiger's dominace is not only good for golf, but it is NEEDED!

Anonymous said...

Hende is a queers name

CaptClamdigger said...

If Tiger isn't in an event, I don't watch. Seeing how badly Tiger beats the snooty crowd every week will keep me coming back for years.

Troy said...

Who was watching golf before Tiger? I know I wasn't. And who watches tournaments that he's not playing in? Who GOES TO tournaments he's not playing in? Tiger is making tons of money for golf. Money = good.

Mark said...

I don't watch golf...way too boring. Tiger Woods can't change that for me.

However, I don't think it's fair to say that Tiger is either all bad or all good for golf. Look, in NASCAR, when Jeff Gordon was dominating everything in the late '90s during his championship runs, many fans said that it made the sport boring to watch...and they were right. One guy winning everything IS boring.

But one guy winning everything also raises the level of competition and forces other guys or teams to elevate their games. Sure, right now, Tiger's athleticism may be untouchable, but it just forces other guys to try harder, and there will come a point where people catch up to him and increased parity in the sport is achieved.

Tiger's dominance is arguably short-term bad, but I would also say that it's long-term good.