Why Golf Needs Tiger Woods
Love him or hate him, the game of golf really needs Tiger Woods and his star power right now.
Love him or hate him, Tiger Woods has once again put golf on the mainstream map.
With any sport, there will always be dedicated fans who tune in to every event and tell everyone how good their sport is, but these days, with so many options on so many screens, sports fans are spoilt for choice with a daily smorgasbord of events to watch.
Due to this, Tiger Woods and golf need each other. There are many reasons why, and below we highlight a few primary factors.
Golf needs characters
While he's not the most charismatic guy in world sport, Tiger Woods' disgraceful off-course behaviour made him a bad guy, and every movie - or sport in this case - needs a villain. Good or bad, sport needs characters and golf is no exception. In fact, golf probably needs characters more than any other sport because let's be honest, it is an old-fashioned and sometimes elitist game which brings out stuffy attitudes.
If golf wants mainstream attention and a piece of the sports fan pie, it needs personalities to market to the masses. Good and bad, heroes and villains.
Ask any non-golf sports fan who the best character in golf is and chances are John Daly will be mentioned. The ultimate anti-golf hero. Daly was a rebel on and off the golf course, with his loud shirts, big cigars and explicit language the closest thing golf has ever had to a real life Happy Gilmore.
On a completely different scale, Tiger Woods endeared himself to the world and became a household name on pure talent alone, winning 14 Majors and 79 PGA Tour events in total. The fact that he excelled in a sport generally played by old white men also drew attention, but regardless, his golfing ability was what really won sports fans over.
Many Australians will recall waking up on a Monday morning to see Tiger dominating in that iconic red shirt. But now, after several misdemeanours which include repeatedly cheating on his wife, Tiger Woods has returned to golf, and although he is still not the most flamboyant individual, his poor form off the course does add a lot of intrigue to the ongoing Tiger story.
Everyone loves a comeback
Whether you are cheering for or against Tiger Woods, you can't deny that a sporting comeback, successful or unsuccessful, makes for must-see TV. Michael Jordan, Mike Tyson, Eric Cantona and many others gained global attention when they made a return after spending time away from the sports world, and Steve Smith might even do the same in 12 months time.
Tiger Woods' comeback has not only put him back on the map, it has also managed to put golf back on the map. Regardless of whether he wins another Major or not, Woods is now more of a ratings magnet than ever before, and his journey back to the top will be pulsating.
If golf wants viewers to tune in to events, it needs stories, and Tiger Woods’ resurgence is a fascinating story which could get even more interesting.
While winning won't paper over the cracks of being a bad guy, it will go some way to rebuilding his image. And even if it doesn't, the publicity is good for the game.
Golf is stuffy
Rory McIlroy, another one of the biggest names in golf today, recently suggested that golfing events should get stricter on selling alcohol to fans. Why did he say this? Because one fan kept yelling out his wife's name.
Please Rory! Have you heard the sledging that goes on from fans in other sports? Take a trip to the real world and get yourself to a football game (of any code) and compare that to your golf crowds... who are forced to be silent.
However, Rory wasn't the biggest whinger in golf this year, because there was a very unfortunate case of elitist bullshit from 24 year old Justin Thomas back in February.
Thomas was walking up on the 16th tee during the Honda Classic in Florida, when a fan decided to heckle him and say "Get in the bunker!". Harmless banter really, but not according to the golfer, who turned around and asked the crowd "Who said that?".
When he realised who the heckler was, Thomas smugly said "enjoy your day buddy. You're done". And security escorted the "offender" out of the venue, without even giving him a warning for this so-called crime.
Kicked out for a harmless heckle, what an absolute joke! Thomas, who (unfortunately) went on to win the tournament, copped a lot of criticism for his tantrum and eventually apologised:
"I never want to lose fans, or have people root against me. I just didn’t see a place for that particular person to be yelling things that weren’t necessary. I overreacted and should not have had him kicked out".
Even when attempting to apologise, he couldn't help but try and justify his actions. By the way, what does golf spelt backwards mean?
How can that fan ever enjoy golf again without feeling bitter? Why pay money to attend an event when you might get kicked out for barracking too hard? I hope he runs into Justin Thomas one day and tells him where to stick his golf clubs!
Golf needs Tiger, and Tiger needs golf
As mentioned, golf and Tiger Woods both need each other and should continue to benefit from one another. In these modern times filled with sport and entertainment options from literally every corner of the globe, star power sells, and love him or hate him, Tiger Woods is a star.
Without returning to golf, Tiger would be irrelevant right now, and maybe golf would also be somewhat irrelevant. Yes there will be loyal supporters who religiously tune in to see every swing, but the reality is golf needs the casual sports fan to also get on board.
So sit back and enjoy the ride, just don't barrack too loud or show too much passion.
Keep reading. Literacy is a bridge from misery to hope.
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