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.