How do you get your juices flowing? How do you get excited when you feel like nothing is terribly exciting? Why does it all feel so boring?
It’s Masters week and I feel like I should be ecstatic, but, for some reason, I’m just not. Jordan just won the Valero, Brooks is in Augusta only a month after having knee surgery, and Bryson is nuking drivers on the range, and yet it all feels so flaccid. There has never been so many big stories and yet I’m still left feeling unfulfilled. Is there something wrong with me? Am I projecting a lack of fulfillment in my personal life onto professional golf? Have I lost my marbles? While those are all possibilities, I don’t think I am. I think I’m just bored. Maybe I just need a vacation.
I feel like professional golf has fallen a little flat. There has never been so many players jockeying for the top spot, they sell us all of these wild story lines, and still it all seems like there isn’t really a point to it all. I mean, all of this for some FedEx points? All of this for a big purse? Is that really all its about anymore?
To be honest, its not just professional golf that’s fallen short. I couldn’t even seem to get into the NCAA tournament this year. I mean the Gonzaga win over UCLA sparked a little excitement in me but only because it was such a crazy finish. But if that’s what it takes to spark the smallest flame in me, isn’t that a sure sign that something is wrong? Especially after a year with no sports?
Is it all just over marketed? It seems like they slam so much content down your throat, and yet it never seems to actually work the way they intended. They want to capture your interest, gain more viewers, but it seems to push me away instead. I’m no scientist and I’m definitely not a doctor, but I feel like I’ve absorbed enough dopamine to last 12 lifetimes. I wonder if its even possible for me to absorb anymore.
This is definitely no dig at anyone working in the media or creating content. They are all just individuals doing their best to do what they think is the right thing to do. Fact is, there is a ton of great content being created out there, and a ton of great people making it all happen. But it all just feels empty.
Maybe I just need a break. Its very possible its just me. I could step away for a bit, take that vacation, but something tells me, it’d be just the same when I came back. There would just be more empty content and I’d be left feeling like I was still searching for something. Which, honestly, I don’t even know what I’m searching for.
I think if I had to narrow it down, I’m looking for a sense of value, a sense of worth. Like somehow, my contribution to the game is valuable in some way. Yes, I’m only a fan, and it may not seem like I actually contribute to the game in any way, but if that’s true, then what is it really all for?
At the end of the day, professional sports, especially golf, are an entertainment product and if I’m not tuning in, then what are they doing it for? Obviously the players are playing for more than just me and my entertainment level, but why would the Tour and other major leagues even do what they do? Whats the point of even putting this stuff on TV?
Is it just for the money? All to pull a paycheck? Does the Tour really do all this work just to get payed? There’s an insane amount of work that goes into making each tournament a success, attracting sponsors, finding venues, and drawing in fans, but if they’re doing all this marketing to “grow the game” why does it feel so unenchanting?
Truthfully, it doesn’t feel like they’re doing any of this for us. It doesn’t feel like they actually want to bring in new viewership or get new people into the game. It seems like they just want to stick with the same old system to make sure they make their money.
If they really wanted to, why wouldn’t they be infusing new and fresh aspects into their product? I mean, even NASCAR is trying new and exciting stuff, and to be honest, its working. Last week they put dirt on a track and turned the 800 horsepower machines loose. It was quite exhilarating. Still, we can’t even get more than one match play event on the PGA tour. Nope, gotta stick with the system. 72 hole stroke play on a 7200 yard course for the win.
Its no secret that golf is as slow as J.B. Holmes’ pre-shot routine. It’s taken a ridiculously long time but at least Augusta has taken a step forward by making it possible to watch every shot of The Masters and holding the women’s amateur. Even if its just a baby step, at least it’s a step. But why do we always have to wait for Augusta to make the first move? We all know how reluctant they seem to be when it comes to changing the history of their club.
It’s unfortunate really. Augusta has long been the Texas of golf, the only ones with the power to do something different, the only group willing to secede from the “union” of golf powers that be and do something out of the norm. But do we really have to settle for one round of women’s golf at Augusta? Is that the most innovation we can come up with?
People are clamoring for more. More inclusion, more diversity and more excitement. We’re begging for something new and better, and continuously being slapped in the face with the same ol’ same. Yet, it appears that the Tour and the major media outlets that televise this stuff are oblivious to the fact that their product hasn’t changed in 25 years.
At what point does the majority get rewarded? Not the majority as in race or gender, but rather the majority of hard working individuals who don’t ever seem to be fairly compensated. When do we get to see someone other than the top 10 players in the world have a shot at a large purse? How do we provide more opportunity to mini tour players who grind day in and day out and barely scrape by? More importantly, when do the hardcore golf junkies who watch every tournament get to see something worth watching? When do we get to see something more compelling than 72 hole stroke play? When do we get to see Kornferry, Symetra, and LPGA players showcase their talents in prime time?
We’re the ones who buy the products they advertise. We’re the ones who buy the clubs, the balls, and book the trips to the courses they play. We don’t care about the FedEx cup, we don’t care about the Comcast Top 10, and we don’t care about the prize money only offered to those among the top ranks. We care about the people. The people who work their asses off to make something of themselves, seeing more of those people have the opportunity to succeed at the highest level, and most of all, believing that, somehow, golf is the game that allows us the opportunity to be just like the pros. Not everyone can dunk a basketball like MJ or throw a baseball like Randy Johnson, but it’s possible for anyone to hole out from the fairway at Sawgrass.
Maybe I’m expecting too much, but it just feels like we should be doing more. I mean, we’re the most advanced species on the planet, however, the game of golf isn’t really advancing. We just keep chasing distance, easier scoring and more winnings for the PGA Tour. At what point, do we get off the freeway and take the scenic drive that’s more compelling? The one that leaves us with easily separable memories that fill us with jubilation and nostalgia? When do we actually make the moves to get the carrot at the end of the stick?