In my last article, I mentioned that I would ask for your opinions concerning the PGA Tour. Having been involved in professional golf tournaments during most of my adult life, I am interested in preserving and improving golf on all levels from beginner to amateur (including tournament play) to the PGA Tour. To bring the readers up to speed, the PGA Tour is a separate entity from the PGA Club Professionals.
In the Arnold Palmer, Jack Nicklaus, and Gary Player era, the era of the “Big Three”, professional golf has grown in popularity. Golf events on television have been an integral part of that growth. When Arnold Palmer won the United States Amateur in 1954, a star was born. During the next 50 years, golf’s popularity grew exponentially. Tournament competition was intense. The players, of that era, were very colorful and very respectful of the game and the fans who supported them. Of course, there were friendly challenges between players, and there were others, like Johnny Miller, whose egos occasionally got in the way. Compare Wayne Levi, a Touring Professional who I played tournament golf after we both graduated from The State University of New York at Oswego, New York. Wayne was always very humble, even when he won 7 PGA Tour events in one year, in comparison to Johnny Miller, who was somewhat of a braggart.
All of that began with the :square groove” controversy of Karsten Solheim, the owner of the Karsten Manufacturing Company, makers of PING golf clubs. Karsten could have financially broken the United States Golf Association (USGA). But, a compromise was reached, thus ending the controversial debate in the manufacture of permitted golf clubs and golf club designs. For me, that tarnished the image of golf forever. It could have been avoided if Karsten wasn’t so greedy. As I have mentioned in a previous article, changes could have preserved the integrity of the game. There is no reason to “not play by the rules” in any sport, especially golf. However, perimeter golf allowed for the expansion of the number of golfers and for their enjoyment of the game.
The game of golf continued to expand. Then came Tiger Woods and his playing prowess. Along with Tiger came His tournament and endorsements with lots of money. In addition, there was a feeling of invincibility. And, for me, a lack of respect for marriage vows as well as for the game. Golf equipment changed dramatically. With these “easier to hit” golf clubs came lower scores. In my opinion, more and more people started to play golf (a good thing). However, the lack of respect of the game and the verbal assaults on the Tour, both between tour players and also between tour players and fans is disgusting. Take, for example, Bryson DeChambeau, who after heckling by a fan, threw the “f-bomb” at the fan. No excuse, a true golf professional wouldn’t have responded in that manner.
So, I ask you, how do you feel about the lack of the players’ respect for both the fans and for each other and how this affects and/or changes the game.
I am, as always, Alan Prescott. I write these articles because I want to preserve the game of golf long beyond my lifetime, and, for all time. I can be reached at [email protected]. Be safe and please stay healthy.