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What golf on TV being entertaining tells us about the sports product

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WP Rory McIlroy

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Most people who like watching golf on TV would tell you the same thing – That it translates so well is certainly a surprise with what would otherwise seem like a slow, tedious sport. Who’d have thought that players hitting a ball once every 10 minutes and spending the rest of the time walking would work? But I love the PGA tour. I’m always happy when the week of one of the four majors comes around. Judging by ratings and interest, I’m not alone.

So why does golf on TV work against all odds? As far as I can tell, here are a number of the reasons:


While I don’t mind watching smaller tournaments, it’s the 4 major championships (the Masters, the US Open, the British Open, the PGA Tour) that work the most. As in tennis, it’s like watching the NBA/NHL/MLB/NFL playoffs 4 times a year. It’s where the players prove their rank for their generation.


I always find it interesting how much more “powerful” a player feels once they’ve won a major tournament. It’s like they become a much larger threat and force than before. In tennis the difference isn’t as large after a major victory because the seeding system already gives the players gravitas. In golf a major victory can turn a player from a relative unknown to being one of “the names.” The difference in legacy for golfers between 0 majors and 1 is huge. Going from 1 to 2 or 2 to 3 puts the player in an even more select group. The value and prestige that winning these titles gives a player makes the beforementioned stakes feel even greater.

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Written by jr.

July 14, 2011 at 7:32 pm