The Pellucid Perspective - May 2015 - (Page 17)

THE LAST WORD The Players, on and off the course I 've never really bought into the PGA Tour's campaign to gain public acceptance of The Players Championship as golf 's "5th major." In the first place, why do we need another "major"? Secondly, it just seemed like the Tour was trying too hard to carve out its own spot on the mantelpiece with golf 's other reigning institutions - the USGA, the R&A, the PGA of America and ... The Masters? One thing all of those annual championships typically provide is a rigorous test of golf, and the Tour guaranteed that for The Players when they gave Pete Dye the keys to a bulldozer and some lumber and former PGA Tour Commissioner Dean Beman an erector set for stadium style viewing. With all that in mind, the push for "major-dom" for The Players has always seemed a bit forced to me. That being said, this year's Players Championship might have been the best golf tournament I've ever watched; it's certainly in the conversation. That's even more surprising in view of the fact that none of golf 's legends were involved in the drama. It wasn't Palmer-Nicklaus, Nicklaus-Watson, Nicklaus-Trevino, or contemporarily Woods-Mickelson; it was, in the end, Garcia v. Fowler v. Kisner in a playoff, after another 3 or 4 challengers fell agonizingly short over the fascinating closing stretch of the last three holes. In other words, with stands and viewing mounds packed with spectators and the drama testifying to Pete Dye's design genius/sadism, it was perfect. Although both Garcia and Kevin Kisner had chances to win in regulation, with America's mothers' and daughters' darling Ricky Fowler cooling his heels on the practice tee after a scintillating 6-under close over his final six holes, it just seemed inevitable that Fowler would finally win a big one and deliver an unstated "Overrate that!" to the fellow pros who had (anonymously) named him and Ian Poulter the two most overrated players on Tour. (More about Poulter later). Kardashian-izing golf: the way to reach Millennials? This publication and other observers have highlighted for some time the need for golf to connect with the Millennials, roughly categorized as those aged 18-34. Numerous industry-wide initiatives have taken stabs at that, from Get Golf Ready to "While we're young" commercials urging faster play to more relaxed dress codes and on-course use of cell phones and their ever-proliferating mobile apps. Still, golf participation in that age group lags, while PGA Tour viewership increases. Ironically, perhaps the best way to interest Millennials in golf is not the game itself, but the players they're actually watching and reading about, regardless of whether that interaction is on television or their smart phones, laptops or tablets. Despite the phenomenal golf being played by many of the Tour's youngest competitors (Rory, Jordan, Dustin, Ricky, Bubba, Justin et al), it is the access to their personal lives, captured, promoted or revealed via tweets, Instagram, YouTube captures or their own web sites, that is doing as much as anything to at least snare the younger folks' fleeting attention spans, if not yet lure them out to the course. Fowler's incredible sprint to the winner's circle at The Players will be remembered by the golfers among us, but I suspect the victory smooch with his scantily clad bikini model girlfriend will be the lasting image for the not yet golfers. Another extremely likable star, world's number one McIlroy, has not only lit up golf 's record books but also the chat rooms with his romantic couplings/breakups, although like his majors total to date, he trails Tiger by a wide margin in salacious tabloid coverage. Jason Dufner, heretofore known not so much for his PGA Championship title and deadpan demeanor but for "doing the Duf " (his imitation of a wino slumped in a downtown doorway) and cavorting with his foxy wife Amanda and drunken buddies at various vacation sites, is now a marital casualty. Dustin Johnson's mysterious exile, self- or Tour-imposed, juxtaposed with his courtship and marriage to Wayne Gretzky's glamorous daughter Pauline, added intrigue to his wealth of golfing talent. TMZ may now be a fixture in the media credential files of Tour PR staffers, right next to the "golf reporter" from The Star. And then there is the afore-mentioned Ian Poulter, who is at the upper end of the Millennial classification, to say the least, but has the thumbs of a teenager. If the Tour tracked tweets, Poulter would have as many victories as he has Ryder Cup points. After his relatively undistinguished performance at The Players, Poulter heard from his favorite antagonist, former PGA of America President Ted Bishop, who noted that with the win by Fowler, there was now only one deserving of the Most Overrated "honor." Needless to say, Poulter quickly thumbed back " Oh Ted, Ted, I thought you learnt (sic) your lesson last time. Apparently not." Poulter was referring to the infamous tweet(s) Bishop sent late last year calling Poulter a "lil girl" for statements he'd made, which unfortunately for Bishop, came only a short time before the PGA of America was scheduled to host a gathering of major sports organization representatives to discuss, among other things, "inclusivity" in sport. Oops! Already on shaky ground with the PGA for some of his other tweets, statements, positions and affinity for the limelight, Bishop was ignominiously relieved of his position and privileges, only weeks before his 2-year term was due to end. He has since tried to cover his tracks for the latest tweet to Poulter, claiming that his tweet was obviously sarcastic and made in jest, but apparently, as Poulter suggests, the learning curve was a bit steep for Bishop. And therein lies the double-edged sword of social media - while it can be a good way to promote yourself or your brand, sometimes, like a cow at roundup time, that brand is activated right on your glutes. -Jim Dunlap The Pellucid PersPecTive 17

Table of Contents for the Digital Edition of The Pellucid Perspective - May 2015

Third party tee time space battles heat up
NGCOA draws flak on owners’ message board
GPS Industries, Club Car forge rare GPS success story
“Paces” of play a healthy alternative for golf?
Flying Tee aims to top Topgolf with debut facility
April golf weather impact: Put another month in the “plus” column
Denver: Profits not Rocky Mountain high, but better than most
ClubCorp reports outstanding first quarter results
The Players, on and off the course

The Pellucid Perspective - May 2015