2013 Golf: Professional Golf Is Becoming World Entertainment


Mandatory Credit: Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports

Even though the 2013 PGA Golf season is over, fans around the world are still thirsting for more, and the major tours are accommodating that appetite. What we in the good old USA don’t always realize, is that most of the world is not interested in College and Pro Football, or the beginning of the NBA season. Golf is a game that almost everyone plays, and enjoys watching, if the field is good, and the power brokers around the game have turned the old “silly season” into must-see TV!

While browsing through the sports headlines this morning, I ran across an article in the Life & Culture section of the Wall Street Journal’s online paper titled “Golf’s Silly Season Goes Sour”, and have to take some issue with the report.

The article speaks to the world golf community paying huge appearance fees, and using events such as Tiger Woods driving a ball across the Bosphorus Bridge in Istanbul as a publicity event to draw attention to the sport.

I’m not sure that golf fans in the US even cared about the publicity stunt, I know I didn’t. But the thing that did spark my interest was Tiger playing in the Turkish Airlines Open against some of the best players on the European Tour, and finishing in a tie for third place with 2013 US Open Champion, Justin Rose.

This was a great tournament that fielded almost all of the players who are chasing stardom, and a lot of money in Dubai this week. The only two big names that were not in Turkey were Rory McIlroy, and Graeme McDowell. Rory dropped from 39th place in Race To Dubai points, to 46th, and McDowell dropped from second to third.

I will be the first to admit that The Race To Dubai format needs to be tweaked a little to become as successful as The FedEx Cup, but in lieu of having a championship event like this at home, it has been very compelling. The field in Turkey was much stronger than the McGladrey which was played at Sea Island this past weekend.

The one thing American golf fans need to get comfortable with, is the PGA Tour is quickly becoming a World Organization that is attempting to bring quality golf to fans around the world. Let’s face it, it’s always summer in some part of the world, and even though we turn to football during the colder months, it’s springtime in Australia, people are hitting the links, and watching golf on television.

In my opinion, PGA Tour Commissioner, Tim Finchem is doing everything he can to promote his sport in a world that wants to see competitive golf on a year-around basis. He is making tournaments in other countries legitimate by adding more prize money, FedEx Cup points, and Masters invitations to the silly season he has turned a “Ho Hum…who cares” part of the year into events that people want to watch.

The LPGA Tour started the migration to a World Tour over the past few years, and it won’t be long until the PGA is fully vested in an International schedule. The move has sparked more interest in Ladies golf here in the US, and around the world.

As a huge golf fan, I like the changes. I have always followed the Sunshine Tour in the spring, and the Race to Dubai in the fall. Like most fans, if there is competitive golf somewhere in the world, I’ll be watching!

Source: Wall Street Journal

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