PGA Needs More Than Tiger

Those were the days weren't they?

Tiger Woods and the PGA have been engaged in a steaming hot relationship ever since he burst onto the scene in 1996. However, as we all know this relationship has cooled off a tad, and by cooled off I mean that Tiger has stopped winning. Maybe they’re just taking a break. At least, that’s what golf fans are hoping for.

The PGA needs Tiger Woods as much as Tiger Woods needs golf. However, this marriage cannot last forever and professional golf is feeling the full effect of this “break” that the two sides have taken in their relationship.

For the PGA, Tiger Woods signifies better ratings, more sponsors, lots of money and all that other good stuff. The issue here is that, when Tiger Woods isn’t playing well or not playing at all, the PGA suffers mightily. Other than the diehard fan, most don’t care one bit about golf if Mr. Woods isn’t involved these days. The short-term memory that we humans possess has led us to forget the days when we watched and most importantly enjoyed golf without Tiger Woods. Granted, in those days there were other stars to make golf interesting.

There, of course, is an easy fix to this issue. Tiger Woods has got to start playing well. Problem solved. No biggie, right?

Naturally, if Tiger Woods starts playing well, we know that professional golf will become relevant once again, but what happens when if Tiger is never able to compete at a high level again?

Even if Tiger does come back strong and is at least a contending force on the scene for another 10 years golf needs something more.

The PGA needs a player who will make fans want to tune in despite Tiger’s absence in a tournament. They need a personality who can compete to the point of near dominance on a regular basis. It seems like the golf world is due for someone like that to come out, but it hasn’t happened yet.

A rivalry similar to Roger Federer and Rafael Nadal’s would be ideal, but that may be a bit too much of a utopian fantasy for now.
You would have hoped that an Anthony Kim or Rory McIlroy could have been the third, except not awkward, wheel in this relationship. It is now coming on 15 years since a true star has broken out. Let’s get real, Phil Mickelson, Ernie Els and Vijay Singh are not real stars. During their prime, they could contend on any given weekend, but they aren’t exactly what the sport needs.

I would like as much as anyone for Tiger Woods to come back and regain that number one status that he lost last season. Nevertheless, putting all our eggs in the Tiger basket each and every tournament is getting to the point of ridiculous.

Clearly there is no method to go out and find a brand new superstar to take the PGA by storm. It sure would be nice though wouldn’t it?

This relationship between Tiger and the PGA may not be at the point of stale yet, but it sure could use a little injection of life. Perhaps a third-party to spice things up. The ménage à trios may not have worked out too well for George and Jerry but for the PGA it might just be the perfect thing.

Agree? Disagree? If you have any questions, comments, suggestions, please feel free to reply in the comments section below. Or you can e-mail me at cross_can15@hotmail.com. I am now on twitter follow me @paintstheblack and I will gladly return the favor.

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18 Responses to PGA Needs More Than Tiger

  1. Chappy81 says:

    I agree the PGA needs Tiger, but one thing that has been good about his influence on the PGA is being seen with the number of young players that he inspired. I’m a huge Dustin Johnson fan, and think he’s going to do well for years to come. I like Rory and Anthony as well. Hopefully some of those young guys can get some kind of rivalry going. I hope Woods wins some regular tourney’s but doesn’t win any majors. I’ve never liked the guy even before all his drama started up, so seeing him come up short in majors would make me happy. I like guys I would want to have a beer with, Tiger is not that kind of guy…

  2. I agree with you that I wish there was another golfer who had the ‘Tiger’ effect. He definitely brings a tremendous amount of press to the PGA and everything that surrounds golf. Torrey Pines being his first game this season was a huge wake up for golf. If he doesn’t start winning tournaments it may get ugly for golf. But golf nuts will always be around and I agree with Chappy here there is an extremely large class of rookies that could change the tides for golf. Even in Europe Martin Kaymer is stirring up a lot of press with all his wins and he most recently took over Tigers role as #2 golfer in the world.

  3. chicagoduffer says:

    Good post. One thing that people also have to consider is that Tiger has changed his swing more times than the “average” PGA Player; and we aren’t just talking about minor changes here. Tiger’s personal life wasn’t the only thing on the downswing in 2010; his golf game was in horrible shape. With a strong first round in 2011 so far, here’s hoping Woods and new coach Sean Foley can figure something out.

  4. ronmycholuk says:

    I’ll be the first to admit I’m no Tiger fan. I just can’t stand his pure arrogance (not withstanding his amazing skills). That said, the humble pie he’s been forced to eat the last few years may go a long way to winning me over. But I agree entirely about the PGA and Tiger. They need each other. Tiger thrives on the excitement that comes with competition and especially winning. But the PGA Tour needs him to sell. Guys like Harrington, Poulter and Mickelson, while amazing golfers, just don’t sell the game to the masses like Tiger does.

    And everybody likes a redemption story. Tiger rising from the ashes to reclaim his top spot in the golf world would envelope the world. Look at how fast people forgave Michael Vick and what he did was far worse than Tiger. I’m eager to see how Tiger plays and carries himself this golf season.

  5. bennothogan says:

    Correct, Tiger can’t carry the tour forever. There are many outstanding young players coming along right now, but golf could use a good rivalry. Lefty has a big following, but he and Tiger have rarely gone head to head in any significant way. I think 2010 was a turning point for the tour, but that’s not to say that Tiger is finished. Although he has lost many fans as well as the intimidation factor, he still attracts a lot of attention whenever he tees it up and that’s probably not going to change.

  6. Jon Lechel says:

    Chris, I completely agree with you. I’m a huge fan of Jim Furyk (not so much his slow play), but watching Tiger is more than just poetry in motion, he’s the pen that writes any emotion you use to describe the game of golf. There may not be another golfer with the exact same pizazz as Eldrick, but the PGA is doing a good job of trying to market other players and get that third-party player in the spotlight. When you can, look into DJ (Dustin Johnson), Rickie Fowler and the push the Tour has for the up-and-coming rookies — you’ll see it’s trying to find any player and their game to step up. It’s going to be a different, and much better season, I’m pretty darn sure of it. Thumbs up on your post … and thank you for reading “The Downhill Lie” at http://golfingnm.wordpress.com/

  7. jalnichols says:

    The PGA Tour is going to suffer a lot if Tiger is “done” (ie, not winning every third tournament he plays). People tune into golf to watch a few stars dominate. Fact is, no one in today’s game but Tiger can win enough to make people pay attention consistently. The fields are way to good and deep for any of today’s young stars to win more than maybe 3-4 times a year consistently. Look at the majors last year. The Masters was relevant because Phil and Tiger played well for the first time all season, the US Open was relevant because they were in contention, the British was irrelevant, and the PGA largely was too until the Dustin Johnson shit happened. Take a dominant Tiger out of the picture and try to remember how golf was viewed in 1994.

    I don’t think Tiger is “done” though. He’ll probably win five or so times this year, probably win the FedEx, probably win a major, and do that for the next 5-10 years. After that, shit might get rough for the PGA Tour.

  8. Scott Bierman says:

    I totally agree about Phil and Vijay not being real superstars! I get a lot of grief about saying Phil isn’t spectacular…Phil is like your jolly next door neighbor who is always friendly. That is why he is appealing to people. Not a bad thing of course!

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  11. ilive4golf says:

    Chris, nice read. Nice site you have here overall.

    On the topic at hand – I’m not sure we’ll ever again see a dominating figure on the PGA Tour as we’ve experienced with Tiger over the past decade. He came at the right time in the history of the game, with the talent, the drive, and the focus that hadn’t been matched since Nicklaus took the stage some 40 years before him.

    I believe the biggest reason for that is one that Woods helped manifest himself – and that is the massive global interest that he created over the past 12 years. Not only did he raise the bar competitively, he injected enough excitement to help support just about every aspect of the golf industry. And through that excitement came growth, particularly in underdeveloped parts of the world… some of which came from our own soil.

    The question seems to be one that has been asked near the end of nearly every great playing career: will the game survive once its top star is no longer relevant? It will. I’m sure the same question was asked when Hogan lost his competitive edge, and Nelson, and Palmer, and Nicklaus. We just didn’t have the broad spectrum of media back then like we have today, trying to tell us what is or isn’t exciting. The PGA Tour survived.

    So you’re correct – the PGA Tour needs more than Tiger Woods. But the truth of the matter is that has always been the case… the only problem is that no one was as consistently good, as often as Tiger was consistently great. Now that he’s nearing a point in his career where his dominance has faded, as new players who’ve never felt the sting of being beaten by him repeatedly over the years are now finding their own ways on tour, and as the media continues to remind these new players week in and week out that their childhood idol’s reign in the world of golf is over – we’re going to start seeing more and more of what the tour used to be…. a week where a guy with a hot putter comes from out of nowhere and wins a big tournament or major championship.

    Will it be as entertaining as what we’ve witnessed over the past decade? I guess it depends on who you ask. But I think the days of the game being dominated by one player are behind us now, at least for the foreseeable future. The other factor is the global economy… and how important it is that people keep playing the game recreationally. The recreational golfers drive the ratings and attendance numbers at the events. Once they can no longer justify spending money to play the game, it becomes very easy to avoid it altogether. From that standpoint – the game overall needs a healthier economy more than they need a superstar.

    Just some meaningless thoughts…

    Nice blog. : )

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  13. Jake Ryle says:

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  14. tophatal says:

    Chris

    The Tour needs Woods more than he needs it ! It goes without saying that prize money ( now at $260 million approx) on the Tour wouldn’t be where it is without him . Players such as Phill Mickelson have about as much personality and aura as a member of Congress ! And the only reason someone would tune in to see John Daly would be to see if he’s playing sober or blind drunk. Tour Commissioner Tim Finchem knows that they need him because the young up and comers have yet to prove their consistency . Not only that many of them are average at best ________ talent wise .

    Television ratings are down without Woods , corporate sponsors and advertisers need him to be a regular player on the Tour if they’re too see real returns and at the same time he’s the thing that drives the attendance on the Tour schedule to begin with .

    tophatal …….

  15. janeyquiel says:

    I agree with your assumption.

  16. paul bunion says:

    I am so tired of this F*#@ing guy! I want to watch golf, not the tiger woods show! He is garbage, plain and simple! Stop with the greed already, try harder to redeem the game and promote real guinuine goodness! Not immoral, children!

    • tophatal says:

      If Woods is greedy then what does that make LeBron James …….. Mother Fuc_king Theresa ? Perhaps LBJ can himself set an example by not allowing his mother to assault concierge staff and then both he and mother use the race card to excuse her behavior ?

  17. tophatal says:

    paul

    Without Woods the PGA Tour would be an afterthought ! As it is Mickelson is just as conceited and arrogant as Woods ! The real problem is for all of the game’s popularity the players on the PGA Tour have about as much character as a used feminine hygiene product !

    They make the guys in NASCAR (Sprint Cup Series ) seem like intellectuals ……….. and how hard is that to do ? Obviously not that hard !

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