Is golf broken?

I caught the end of a conversation on SEN radio yesterday with Kevin Bartlett and Jon Ralph (this link is hopelessly out of date). In fairness to all, I came in towards the end of their chat, but the conversation seemed so biased and over the top that I feel compelled to write about it.

They were banging on about golf being broken. Their main rationale? That the TV ratings for the Australian Masters was very low. At this point I nearly crashed the car.

Despite the fact that the event was only shown on pay TV (eliminating a vast majority of the population), the Australian Masters is hardly a golf event to determine the health of the game. If one is going to make such a huge claim, then they should look at the bigger picture, not a microcosm.

Here’s my take.

Golf is not broken. Golf tournaments in Australia might be broken (quality players, TV and media interest, crowds etc), but the game of golf is just fine. Australian golf needs to get serious if it is to once again be considered a main player in world golf. This is an entirely different discussion. But please don’t compare what happens here in Australia with what’s going on in the rest of the world.

I don’t know why over the top football biased media people need to comment on other sports. When they’re not talking about Aussie Rules (which isn’t very often) they like to sink the slipper into other sports. I’ve heard tennis, soccer and cricket get similar treatment. Why can’t they appreciate other sports for what they are? If nothing else, surely these sports provide a healthy distraction from the almost unending chatter on AFL?

The four major golf titles are bigger and better than any other sporting event here in Australia (apologies to the Australian Open Tennis) and the Ryder Cup is a thousand (yes a thousand) times bigger (and better) than anything the AFL can dish up.

I think the footy media can get carried away and over value the importance (and popularity) of their “great game”. Yep, footy is awesome when it’s played well, but so are all other international sports. And I think “international” is the keyword here. AFL is played in a tiny part of the world and sometimes those that discuss it have the blinkers on.

Golf isn’t perfect. It has some issues (like the long putter) but it is hardly broken. And I wish those with a microphone could promote and encourage all sports, rather than taking the easy option and kicking those that don’t have the same profile.

And don’t think I’m against criticism – if you’ve got a good argument go for it. Just don’t be lazy and make huge generalisations.

What are you thoughts? Is golf broken?

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5 Comments

  • Grayden Provis

    Reply Reply December 7, 2012

    Ryder Cup a thousand times better than the AFL grandfinal? A bit of a stretch that one old chap!

    • Cameron

      Reply Reply December 10, 2012

      GP: Probably a bit over the top 🙂 But their analogy of golf being broken would be like saying that the numbers at the reserve grade WAFL are down so therefore AFL is broken. You have to compare the big show with the big show and the Ryder Cup, in my opinion, puts AFL in proper perspective.

  • Troy Vayanos

    Reply Reply December 9, 2012

    I think golf in this country is stronger than ever. You only have to look at the amount of golfers joining clubs and playing on the weekends to see that.

    Yes we are probably missing the television coverage that we used to have years ago when Norman was at his peak. However, this doesn’t mean that golf in Australia is weak. It just means that the television set up is very different thanks to pay television.

  • Mike Divot

    Reply Reply December 9, 2012

    It doesn’t help when the US PGA tour goes on and on and on, colliding with our tour; also meaning that players are chasing their tour cards when they could be here competing. Plus the proliferation of all-star big-money events and the abomination of “skins” … fewer players available to come down here and play our tour = less interest.

    • Cameron

      Reply Reply December 10, 2012

      Mike: There must be a way to work with the PGA Tour? They do in Asia. We have great courses, weather, people etc and surely there must be a way to have one huge event here each year?

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