Let’s imagine that it’s April 2023. You are back from another exciting Masters tournament. You streamed it all day on Thursday and Friday and why not? This is the pinnacle of the sport. Many will tell you that this is the Super Bowl of golf, and each who matters was involved. It was a nice change of pace, because it hadn’t been like this in eight months.
You’ve actually been watching a lot of golf over the last month or so because now there’s more golf than you can keep track of. In March, there were Players Championship and WGC-Match Play, among which there were several LIV Golf events. But now, at the end of April, LIV Golf is in Australia. Or maybe Singapore. During the day, the PGA Tour takes place in New Orleans, and at night, LIV golfers who used to play on the PGA Tour are shown on TV at night. There are also NBA playoffs, NHL playoffs, and baseball’s spring start. How many will watch golf? You will?
This has always been a difficult question for golf as a sport. How many will watch. The request is often accompanied by an extreme dose of pessimism, and you may even find some of it here. The reason is that more is not always better. And we’re getting more than ever in the next six months. We’re going to find out just how popular professional golf can be. Not all of these can stick.
Let’s imagine it’s June 2023. Dustin Johnson, world champion, wins in Los Angeles at the 2023 US Open. He is the first LIV golfer to win a major championship, the third in his career. That DJ, that golfer. Probably the best of his generation. But will his LA Country Club win set him up for the next LIV, this time at Trump National in Virginia, as Johnson looks to double his success? If not, when are you going to tune in for the DJ show?
We can just go back for a second from 2023 to December 10, 2022. This is Tiger Woods season when Woods returned for his Hero World Challenge tournament in the Bahamas and then competed alongside Rory McIlroy and against Jordan Spit and Justin Thomas. Their battle under the lights of the Pelican Golf Club, airs on TNT and opposes the Heisman trophy ceremony, which seems harmless enough. Collegiate football is on the sidelines, as is MLB. Woods and McIlroy joke about being the old guard, and Thomas and Spit end up making them feel that way by winning a 12 hole 2 and 1 match.
If ever there was a time to tune in for a two-on-two golf duel, December 10th might be it. It could also be the perfect dress rehearsal for what we’ll get in January 2024 when TGL launches its virtual golf league played exclusively on Monday nights during prime time. You can reasonably expect Spit and Thomas to be involved (Thomas presents Excel Sports, investor in parent company TMRW Sports). Woods and McIlroy will obviously be there – this is their new brainchild. As an experiment, we are going to find out the interest of the public in watching golf in the afternoon.
Great news, right now! It’s February and you’ve fallen even more in love with Joel Damen. How did you fall in love with Joel? watching Netflix documentary series about the 2022 season in professional golf, which lasted several weeks. Vox Media Studios had unlimited access to Damen and a range of professionals throughout the year, and Damen’s ability shoot 67 and chase him with Miller Lites is reaching out to you.
If Joel competes in the Honda Classic held annually in Jupiter, Florida, you’ll understand. He played it before the pandemic, when life was easier for everyone involved. But if he’s not playing, you may never turn on the golf channel, as the Honda is just a regular PGA Tour event, sandwiched in the middle of five weeks with four boosted mega million events. Elsewhere in Florida that same week, the LIV kicks off its second season, asking all of us: Which is more important, the first round of the LIV season or the second round of the Honda Classic? In the latter, the 82nd and 137th positions in the world compete to simply cut and replenish their bank accounts. Otherwise, they are sent packing. They are well taken care of at LIV.
The Netflix show has also humanized Brooks Koepka in many ways, whose opinions are much easier to understand when he shares them on the couch in his waterfront home than on the podium of one of his brief press conferences. You like Koepka a little more than last season, and since he’s three years old at the first LIV event in 2023, you tune in to him on a Sunday afternoon, now that you can actually find LIV on your TV guide. Better to have this remote on hand if Damen is in dispute.
All of these hypotheses – all of the current possibilities of professional golf for men – for better or for worse – force us to rethink the public’s appetite for golf. It has never been so easy to track two tournaments at the same time. But what about three? This column says absolutely nothing about the LPGA tour, which will cut into everything that has been explained above. How much TV golf can we take? And how much do we want? This website certainly hopes that the amount will be high. But what if we find that this is not the case?
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