So he shot 74 yesterday, so what? It’s good to have him back. Even a faltering Tiger is better than no Tiger at all. Maybe now the TV audiences will come back. Viewers evaporated during his absence. This year’s US Open. which was won by Martin Kaymer, attracted the sparsest audience in a long, long time. And with one no-name after another taking home the PGA trophies in Tiger’s absence, golf has lost its crowd appeal.
The golf industry is falling on hard times.
When golf is exciting on TV, the station sells more ads, the PGA makes more money. And more people take up the game, more clubs get sold, more caps and gloves and balls and tees… more clothes even. When golf is dull to watch, the game becomes less popular as a recreational sport, and a lot of people rake in a lot less loot.
I don’t know what Tiger will shoot today. He is playing in the afternoon and I’m writing this in the morning. But I hope he makes the cut. The weekend would be dull without him.
Who ever heard of Greg Chalmers, the first-round leader at Congressional? All I know is that he’s from Australia. No offense but I would rather watch the World Cup or Wimbledon than watch him shoot another 66. As for Fredrik Jacobson, Ricky Barnes, Bill Hass et al, I’ve seen them play many, many times, and I am not that thrilled at the prospect of watching them again. Yes, I remember Bill’s miraculous recovery shot from the water hazard, the one that won him $10 million and the FedEx cup back in 2011. Yes, I know these guys are good, as those PGA commercials keep reminding us.
But Tiger they are not.
And those prodigies they keep hyping? Rickie Fowler’s costume party is getting old, and Jordan Spieth, despite his consistent top-ten finishes and tender age isn’t all that spectacular to watch. They come and they go, one after another, Jimmy Walker… Billy Horschel… Patrick Reed… each as forgettable as the other.
They can hit the ball a mile, that’s true. They can hit their irons with pin-point accuracy. They can sink long, winding putts. Not all the time, of course. The golf gods wouldn’t stand for it. They have decreed that golfers – from the greatest to the least among us – will have good days and bad days, sometimes awful days.
But some golfers are fun to watch. Arnie was fun to watch. Lee was fun to watch. Jack and Gary and Chi Chi … they were all great theater … Phil and Bubba are fun to watch – sometimes.
Tiger is really fun to watch, especially when he gets in the groove.
So welcome back Tiger. But take care. Don’t swing too hard when you hit it in the deep Congressional rough. A lot of people depend on you for their living. They need you to stay healthy.
Save your back for the Open at Royal Liverpool next month, Tiger. You know we’ll be watching.