Someone, please explain to me people’s infatuation with golf? I don’t get it.
During the early stages of the Coronavirus lockdown, golf courses were closed. The blowback from the fanatics of the fairways was over the top. You would have thought the government had instituted Marshall Law. Courses were re-opened roughly two months into the pandemic. Our national nightmare was finally over.
When looking at individual sports, I believe tennis, boxing, and poker rank ahead of golf. Okay, maybe I’m being a bit hyperbolic and facetious when it comes to poker.
Boxing offers athleticism, conditioning, physical and mental toughness. I’ll admit that I’m a fair-weather boxing fan. I grew up loving Muhammad Ali and Roberto Duran. My strongest connection to the sweet science is the film Raging Bull, the no holds barred look at former Middleweight Champion Jake LaMotta. It is one of my three favorite films. Has there ever been a truly great golf movie?
Please, don’t tell my Tin Cup or Caddyshack.
The individual sport that I find the most engrossing is tennis.
A sport that combines all of the aspects that constitute an actual elite athletic competition. Speed, quickness, power, stamina, hand-eye, and foot-eye coordination. Not to mention the mental capacity to go mano-e-mano for sometimes three or four hours on varying surfaces from grass to clay to hard courts.
In golf, you play against a course. In tennis, you battle an opponent.
In golf you wear slacks. In tennis, you sweat.
Tiger Woods has been the dominant golfer of the last 25 years and rightfully takes his place alongside Jack Nicklaus as the Greatest Player Of All Time. But he has never had a natural, contemporary rival. Woods has won 15 Majors. The next closest among his “rivals” is Phil Mickelson with five, which constitutes one-third the number of Woods’ Majors.
Over the last 20+ years, Tiger was supposed to have rivalries with Mickelson, David Duvall, Sergio Garcia, Rory McElroy, Dustin Johnson, Jordan Spieth, and Brooks Koepka. Bryson DeChambeau is now the flavor of the month.
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None of these rivalries materialized because those aforementioned golfers weren’t quite great enough. 12 years ago, Woods’ biggest rivals were his inner demons and a fire hydrant which he crashed his Escalade into. Woods has won one Major in the last dozen years.
Compare that to tennis which has been dominated for nearly two decades by arguably the three greatest players ever to play the sport. Since 2003 Roger Federer (20), Rafael
Nadal (19) and Novak Djokovich (17) have combined to win 56 of the last 67 majors. This would be akin to having Socrates, Plato, and Aristotle all waxing philosophically at the same time, while in their primes.
Baseball has rightfully been criticized for a laborious pace of play. Somehow, golf doesn’t get the same treatment.
The differences between hackers playing golf and tennis are striking. Playing 18 holes is often an all-day affair. Travel to and from the course. Teeing off followed by waiting and waiting and waiting. All at an expense of north of $100 per round.
Meanwhile, tennis is a great workout which you can accomplish in less than a two hour period. Public courts are good and free. Rackets and balls inexpensive.
In my humble – ok arrogant – opinion, tennis is far more fun to watch and play than golf.
I’ve always felt that people’s obsession with golf is totally narcissistic. If you are playing golf at 2:00 on a weekday afternoon, in your mind, you are a success. It’s very self-congratulatory.
Golf or Tennis. I’m taking a sport that uses the word love in its scorekeeping over a game with the word bogey in its scorekeeping.
Tennis. Game. Set. Match.
John Sapochetti is Co-Host
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