I know most people consider golf as boring as watching grass grow and I understand.
But… Having said that, I’ve played at it since high school and
always enjoyed, most of the time enjoyed it… Okay, okay, I played flog more than golf, but still…
Thanks to being the Navy, I did get the chance to play a lot of interesting courses over the years, and was able to work the Players Championship in Jacksonville a couple of years. I’ve also worked a few other tournaments too.
One of the courses I was lucky enough to play was Torry Pines at ‘Navy’ rates a few times over the years, so I’ve actually walked that course just like the pros. It’s a public course, so it gets a good bit of play and when the wind is blowing, it is TRULY a challenge!
I’ll be the first to admit they out hit me with EVERY club in their bags. On a ‘good’ day, I’m barely over 210 yards with the driver, and 100 yards with a wedge. They’re hitting over 320 with drivers, and 150-170 with their wedges.
What really amazes me is their shotmaking ability and accuracy. And their putting… So yes, I’ll admit I watch golf… If for no other reason than to see actual head to head competition, where there aren’t any excuses for how well or badly they shoot. Golf is definitely NOT a team sport, and I know some people say they aren’t athletes, but I’d challenge you to go out and walk 4-5 miles a day, up and down hills, and swinging a club 60-100 times a day, week after week in all kinds of weather.
I believe the quality of the golfers today is a direct result of Tiger Woods and his ascendancy in the golf world. He popularized the sport world-wide that was basically a ‘rich old man’s sport’, and started kids all over the world playing golf. We’re seeing the results of that now on the leaderboards with all the different countries represented. At one point, there was a South African, a Spaniard, an American, and an Irishman in the top four slots. Rahm from Spain won it with two huge puts on the last two holes.
One other point- Lots of folks don’t realize that most of the course workers are volunteers, unpaid other than maybe a round or two of free golf at the location. This allows the tournaments to donate a lot of money, $204 million in 2019 and $3.9 billion over all the years. Philanthropic contributions, including those from professional tournaments, are a huge part of the industry, with the majority of funds going to causes outside of the sport like hospitals, youth development groups, food banks, and programs in local communities the PGA Tour visits.
I don’t believe any of the other ‘sports’ match that…