A New Era of Golf
A new era of golf has started to emerge over the past three to five years. With the ongoing struggles of Tiger Woods, it is clear the prime of his historic career has long since passed. The Tiger we have seen the past few years is clearly not close to the player we saw during the late 90s and early 2000’s. That player had arguably, the most dominating run of any golfer in the history of the sport. It was one of the most amazing periods for any athlete in history, and will not soon be forgotten. However, it is clear that a new era of golf is well underway and the game may be in better hands than many could have imagined.
Many felt the end of Tiger’s reign of dominance could bring a catastrophic decline in interest for the game of golf. That was a valid concern, as Tiger was able to take viewership and interest beyond traditional golf demographics. The popularity of golf had never been higher and without the Tiger of old, many wondered what would happen to interest in the sport.
Luckily, there was a group of young stars prepared to take the reins. Those young players include Rory McIlroy, Jordan Spieth, Rickie Fowler and Jason Day among others. Not only are these players talented and marketable, but they are quality young men who display great sportsmanship. This was something the game of golf desperately needed after Tiger’s infidelity scandal, which created the negative image that many still have of him today
Just recently we saw Jordan Spieth win The Masters and U.S. Open consecutively, effectively putting the golf world on notice of what greatness could lie ahead. However, what may have been more impressive was the sportsmanship and class he displayed in defeat after falling short at the British Open and PGA Championship. In 2014, we saw all four major tournaments feature great young players, storylines and drama. Even with the great Tiger Woods missing cuts and out of contention, the sport appears to be in a great place. In the hands of these young stars, the future is brighter than many could have envisioned.
However, it is important to realize the influence of Tiger on these promising young players. Most of them grew up watching and idolizing Woods, crediting much of their interest and passion for the sport to him. Tiger made the game of golf “cool” and interesting to a generation of kids who may have looked past it without him. His passion and intensity attracted young athletes like Jordan Spieth and Rory McIlroy who are now carrying the torch he once held for so long. Even though Tiger’s time appears to have passed, his influence and impact is sure to be felt for generations to come.