I watch and follow professional golf quite a bit. Like most, I have opinions on what’s up. In no particular order of importance, here’s what strikes me as the current landscape:
Tiger’s ‘back’ (sort of). The (current) #28th ranked golfer in the world, despite not having won anything, or even been competitive anywhere, for a very long time is back padding the fairways at the Bridgestone WGC Invitational. Sporting ‘old man’ golf shoes, his balky driver and an ever-wobblier putter, T-Wood is looking like an ever more remote longshot to surpass Nicklaus’ majors record.
The current world #1, Luke Donald (you can be forgiven for never having heard of him) has made a ‘name’ (of sorts) for being ploddingly workmanlike, bland and devoid of competitive fire. He continues to paint with vanilla hues while racking up ‘top 10′ finishes. I’m happy the Brits finally have someone to feel proud of but a guy with NO majors and the personality of a cardboard cut-out as #1? Ho hum.
The PGA Tour is hyping the ‘changing of the guard’ theme, started during Tiger’s sabbatical. The crop of so-called “young guns” (Mahan, Fowler, Watney, Crane, etc., etc.) are supposed to take up the slack. Unfortunately, for all the weird hats, white belts and YouTube videos, they make NASCAR’s “who survived the most wrecks?” approach to racing almost compelling.
What’s absent? Well, a meaningful rivalry for one thing. Phil Mickelson was supposedly a shoo-in as successor #1. It was hoped someone would rise to the challenge to create some mano-a-mano suspense. Nope. Phil seems precipitously in decline, too.
The (current) ‘Great (Golf) Hope’, Rory McIllroy, was already being touted as the guy to steal Jack’s thunder, even before the final round of the US Open, but one major is light-years away from 18. Let’s wait and see (but don’t hold your breath).
All in all, it’s mostly the marketing department of the PGA Tour that’s creating the “excitement” these days; the golfers themselves are mostly just trying to maintain their playing cards.