Many interesting stories have occurred in golf in recent months. Unsurprisingly we have been drawn into the ones where there is a villain and Patrick Reed has fit the bill quite beautifully on that front. He’s doing golf both a disservice and a service at the same time. We might not want to be thankful for it, but objectively speaking we maybe should be, for some areas of the wider world now have another reason to cover golf. Another fascinating story has been that of the Premier Golf League (PGL). Since Geoff Shackleford wrote about it, it’s garnered much interest from the golf(ing?) community. I enjoyed the No Laying Up podcast where they covered it and came to the conclusion I liked where they stated it might be nothing more than a thought exercise. The more I’ve thought about it, the more I think they are right. However it may have planted a seed that hasn’t been planted before, at least in my mind.
That seed is the common enemy seed. Golf, like sport in general, currently suffers from not having enough rivalries, or indeed any. In fact, if you look at the wider world in general, but in particular politics, which seems to be the world right now, we are desperately attempting to insert enemies where in reality there aren’t any. Probably not my best example but one nonetheless, fairly recently I commented on Twatter agreeing with Piers Morgan where he said there hasn’t been a better time to be alive and that the young should remind themselves of this. 140 characters didn’t give me enough opportunity to state it was that part of his video I agreed with as opposed to the medals for coming last in school part, something I have no clue about. The responses I got however were symptomatic of current debate. Agree with 20% of what someone I hate says, and you are now my enemy. It’s irrational, yet commonplace. It’s also natural, and we seemingly can’t get enough of it. What we need, is a War.
Or a pandemic to bring us together. Or, if you’re the PGA Tour and the European Tour, we need the serious prospect of the Premier Golf League. A few years ago I wrote that it would be a bad idea if the PGA Tour and European Tour merged, to create a World Tour. But, if I now have to choose between that or the PGL, then I’d choose the World Tour every time. Thinking conspiratorially for a second, I wonder if someone has plotted this to have the effect of creating a common enemy, as to make the chances of a World Tour more likely? Thinking slightly more realistically, I doubt that’s the case and instead we just have an assortment of individuals, trying to see a gap in a market and exploit it with (currently) porous Saudi money and investment from a Japanese bank with a recent history of very poor investments. Either way, it’s worked in terms of changing the way I see something I previously disliked; a World Tour.
For what it’s worth, I think the PGL is a pretty terrible idea. Not only do I think it would rupture many of the traditions of golf, which are mostly good, but I don’t think it would even work in terms of garnering the kind of attention some people think it would. In my opinion, what we have in the West isn’t a problem with the structure of our sports, it’s a problem of over consumption. We are 25 years or so into a boom in television consumption, how many other things do you think would bore you after 25 years? I don’t think the PGL would give us enough of a shock to overcome the stagnation many of us are feeling. I don’t know what that shock is, but I think it’s something more severe. At 29, I’m more convinced than ever however that familiarity breeds contempt. This phenomena isn’t the issue though, as it’s naturally occurring, where things start to go wrong is in how we perceive the truth and then react. And by buying into the notion that the PGL would bring about sufficient change as to breathe life back into a game that is hardly dying alone, would in all likelihood just be breathing more vigour into the wallets of a small few at the very top.
Cue accusations of me being a communist, or worse, a Jeremy Corbyn supporter… (I can’t support someone who has to declare his gender pronouns when they look like Jeremy Corbyn) I’m not anti people earning big money, I’m for it, providing it correlates in some way approximating the value they provide to wider society. Of course, in 2020, most of us can probably agree that rarely happens. (evident in my own earnings over the last couple of years) Whether it’s footballers getting paid ludicrous sums, or Phil vs Tiger for $9 Million, when we all know, that the market for that doesn’t exist, it’s merely a perceived value that’s journeyed well into fairyland, much like the S&P 500. I’m sure the tide will turn…
In terms of me, and my golf, I’m currently in the air en route to Qatar. As I said in a tweet earlier, I withdrew from Oman over fears of getting stuck abroad due to this Coronavirus. I’ll be honest, I’ve swallowed myself up in information surrounding this outbreak and while it might be true I’ve swallowed too much fear, I do think it poses much more of a threat than many people are willing to realise. Although, being 29 and naive when it comes to pandemics, I’m possibly overreacting. I’m here to give myself a shot at qualifying for the WGC Matchplay which will be my only route into The Masters. It’s a risk I felt worth taking. In preparation for a potential lockdown I did book myself into the Four Seasons mind, so if I do get locked down, don’t feel too sorry for me…
One final thing, there might be a podcast on the horizon… There just aren’t enough of them floating around at the moment.
Excellent and erudite, as always
Interesting, as always, Eddie.
Eddie, thanks ever so much for taking time to write down your thoughts. I find them thought provoking, interesting and very entertaining.
Safe travels, hit em’ long and straight…………………..A Brit from Dallas
I’ll read your words, Eddie, but I won’t listen to any future podcasts. Keep scribbling!
Spot on Eddie and always thought provoking views from you. Ross @vanairnart
A name for your podcast- Pep Talks
Good luck . Would love to see you back at the Masters .
As always a great read!
Both eloquent and articulate.
I doff my cap.
You write so well! Good luck in Qatar! Great breakfast at the Four Seasons.
As always Eddie I love the blog, but please please enter the podcast arena as well… that would just be audio gold I feel.
Finally thanks for making me laugh my arse off a lot of the time, whilst also allowing the old grey matter to work.
Interesting as usual. I wish more of your colleagues would write as succinctly as you do.
Entertaining as always. Thanks Eddie
ah, growing up until we finally find a fight that needs to be fought, like a human isn’t mature until he has enemies and battles . . . I never wanna grow up, I want to argue about it, but it’s hard to debate something folks don’t really see in the first place, kinda thing
Go get em in Qatar Eddie! Love to see you make the match play.
Sent from my iPhone
Love your blog and long May it continue – not all about golf either and such wise words- most of the time! Good luck in Qatar May the force be with you for qualifying for the Masters too!
Great blog as always. I really hope there will be a Podcast whilst there are a lot out there that doesn’t mean there isn’t space for a quality offering from yourself. On the COVID-19 position last year 250000 people died from seasonal flu and the vast majority of people who are dying from COVID are over the age of 60, just to put some perspective into the hysteria.
Eddie, you’re far too sage for someone of your years and being a professional sportsman!! I Go out, hit some balls, wash your hands often, come home (hopefully having qualified for Augusta)
Are you playing the Travelers this year?
Eddie, I totally agree with you on the PLG. The good old Mark McCormack days are over where it was a revolution in itself just to have golf on TV. If you want to revolutionize golf (and who says you would), I don’t see the PLG doing that.
Golf is already a highly international game and the World Golf Championships do a somewhat decent job of getting people from all the major tours playing together.
Even the attempt to dust off the good, old “Big Three Golf”-concept (though, this time only with two players in last year’s “The Match”), was – maybe not a scandal – just plain boring. Who cares about a trillionaire winning another 10 million dollars? Find two random players from the Hooters Tour (does that even exist anymore?) and get them to play for 10 big stacks of green. THAT I would watch.
If you want to get golfers excited about a new concept, just throwing more money at them, will not help (thanks, that’ll be 100k for that advice). I would still fall asleep during the Tour Championship even if they doubled the purse.
GolfSixes kinda worked. The ShowClock Masters concept for sure worked!
What really works? The Masters and The Open!!
What happened in Qatar ? Was longing to read you, hope to see you soon back on the leaderboard !💪🏼
‘We are desperately attempting to insert enemies where in reality there aren’t any.’ Definitely a good read!
Why don’t you do an article on golfing accessories? Apologies, if you have already. Would love to read one of those from you!
For my game, I prefer professional golf gloves from Discount Golf.