Don’t We Need A Little Competition In The Game?

On todays PGA Tour we really don’t have one dominating force.

We are used to this because of the pure dominance Tiger Woods provided us for so many years. But today we have a huge talent pool where the top 15-20 golfers are really good and anybody could win any week.

This raises the question.

Which one is better for golf?

On the one hand, you have a polarizing figure (like Tiger) who dominates one week after another and the rest of the field seems like it is pretty much playing for second. Viewers tune in every weekend just to see him dominate and will his way to yet another win. There is rarely a playoff or even drama on 18. Tiger won the 2000 US Open by 15 strokes, 1997 Masters by 12 strokes, 2000 WGC-NEC Invitational by 11 strokes, 2003 Bay Hill Invitational by 11 strokes and he has won by 8 strokes on six different occasions in his career. But yet people still tuned in and watched the tournaments, sometimes more than todays tournaments.

PGA Tour

Tiger Woods

On the other hand, you have todays PGA. You have a great group headlined by Jordan Spieth, Rory McIlroy, Jason Day, Justin Thomas, Dustin Johnson, Bubba Watson, Rickie Fowler and many more that can seemingly take over a tournament any weekend. There has been many exciting playoffs and tournaments over the past few years because of how elite the talent is at the top. Spieth is the closest thing we’ve seen to Tiger and yet it seems like he wins rarely. This season we have seen Justin Thomas dominate early, but yet he still is missing cuts here and there. The TV ratings are down compared to the Tiger days but so is the whole game of golf.

PGA Tour

Justin Thomas (left) and Rickie Fowler wave to the crowd after both holing out their tee shots on the 4th hole during the Par 3 Contest at Augusta National Golf Club. (Credit: Michael Madrid)

So what is better for the golf game, if we want to continue to grow it?

Personally I think it is what we have today. People may argue it is better to have a sole person that everyone can rally behind to grow the sport. But I think the huge spread of talent on tour is the best thing to grow the game. You have so many different personalities and characters for young kids and fans to rally behind. One of the most likeable golfers on tour Patrick Reed barely ever wins and seems to only show up when he is wearing red, white and blue. You have the young spunky star of Fowler who wears high tops and joggers on the course with neon colors and flat brims. Justin Thomas brings a laid-back southern personality that everyone can like and he is a top talent. You have so many different guys with different personalities it is like the NBA where you have an elite 5-6 guys people can love and hate. If the NBA only had LeBron James and then a bunch of decent guys who had a prayer at beating him, the NBA wouldn’t be very popular.