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Mayor of Crazy Town: Tiger-watching is a Study in Humanity

Volume 2, Issue 7 – July 2012

Fellow Citizens of Crazy Town -

I recently received a question from a reporter employed by a national media outlet… asking me to comment on whether Tiger Woods’ three wins this year is good for the sport in terms of fan interest.  Now while I think any response I could give risks taking on the new title of “master of the obvious,” It was an invitation to consider how my POV (and perhaps that of many crazy town citizens) has changed with regard to watching Tiger compete on Sundays.  This was my response:
 
Tiger Woods has always been a uniquely compelling individual on so many levels. He drives fan and overall interest as evidenced by boosted Nielsen audience share and ratings since we first saw his face on TV.  
 
However, it can be said that professional golf (with or without Tiger) has only modest effect on recreational golf.  NGF's research has shown that people PLAY golf and buy golf-related products because they like or love golf, not because of Tiger Woods. Unquestionably, he does raise the profile and interest in the game when he's in the hunt or the winner's circle.
 
The intensity of the media coverage surrounding Tiger's personal situation revealed some of his previously cloaked vulnerability. I've always felt Tiger's born and trained talent was super-human, both physically and mentally... all the superlatives applied to him and his amazing performances under a mountain of expectations... I felt they couldn't possibly say enough to properly put his consistent excellence in perspective for the masses. His "clutchness" and the power of his will was simply inexplicable... and essentially... impossible to capture, even with hyperbole.
 
The crucible of pressure on PGA TOUR Sunday afternoons allows golf fans and interested observers of humanity the opportunity to see both Tiger's greatness and his flaws in high relief. The exposed human-ness of his imperfections has only added another layer to the interest in, and unpredictability of, his tournament performances.  Perhaps there is a reason to watch today that is a bit different than the seemingly inevitable march to 18 or 19 major titles we previously tuned in for. Viewers get to learn a little more about him every time we see him try to regain control of his game... and every truly passionate golfer feels (right or wrong) that an individual's golf is at least one expression of a person's control over his/her life.  
 
When Tiger is on or near the top of a leader board on Sunday with a chance to win, golfers and non-golfers tune in... often in very large numbers.  Nobody engages and attracts non-golfers like Tiger.  So yes, “Mayor of the Obvious” can confirm that three wins certainly does create fan interest. 
 
Cheers from the HMCT (aka Greg Nathan, NGF)
 
Why “Mayor of Crazy Town?”
I invite you to click here to read the first installment of this blog.
 
 


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