Tiger Effect: And Now The Inevitable Golf-Can't-Attract-Millennials-Stories Begin To Roll In

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We didn’t even get a week of enjoyment out of Tiger Woods’ uplifting Masters win before writers and analysts had to remind us how the the only people who matter prefer E Sports and soccer. Newsflash!

Conclusion: golf is doomed and might as well just fold up the tent.

It feels like we’ve done these stories for over a decade now. Sadly, the golf world listens and we’ve had to watch various businesses flush years of credibility, service and solid profits in a quest to reach this precious audience while neglecting others in the name of pursuing the previous M’s. Certainly there are issues for the sport, but you’d hope by now that the focus would shift from all that the sport is not able to achieve for the M’s and accept that golf is not the cause of issues preventing millennials from having the time or income to spend on a leisure activity. Or even pay their taxes.

So on the cusp of somewhat positive industry news released this week and signs that Topgolf has at least made the sport an aspiration for the M’s, we have the dreaded analysts telling us otherwise.

Lauren Silva Laughlin in the Wall Street Journal notes the lack of “contact and action that lures viewers” and the average age of golf’s television demo (65). She notes the usual stuff about course closures and M’s not taking up the sport. And even says Tiger just doesn’t have what it takes.

Sports’ star power is changing, too. The latest sports hero is a 27-year-old, blue-haired electronic gamer named Ninja, a player of the popular videogame “Fortnite.” He recently received his own figurine line and was named in Time’s 2019 list of 100 most influential people.

Even compared with athletes that move their heart rate beyond a resting state, golfers are old, relatively. The average player of baseball, another sport known as a less spry bunch, is 14 years Mr. Woods’s junior.

Looked at another way, the last millennial was born a year before Mr. Woods won his first Masters tournament in 1997, if Pew Research’s age benchmarks are used. When his extramarital scandal hit tabloids, they were rounding out junior high. Mr. Woods could be golf’s savior. More likely, though, in the eyes of a millennial, he’s just another aging putter.

Sheena Butler-Young was on top of the M’s narrative on Monday after the Masters and talks to various analysts who see no hope for the sport that dates to Mary Queen of Scots.

“There’s nobody in golf that’s totally capturing everybody’s imagination right now,” Poser said, adding that Puma athlete and PGA golfer Rickie Fowler has perhaps the biggest potential to draw in younger players. “The majority of the [sports’] fans aren’t the young fans. If you think about it, a lot of millennials don’t have the time and money to do it.”

Yes, we’ve known that a while but it doesn’t stop grown adults from making terrible decisions based on what their kids tell them at the dinner table.

Similarly, Powell counted a laundry list of reasons why millennials and Gen Z won’t take the baton from their parents and grandparents and carry golf into the future.

“The values of the game of golf just aren’t [akin] to the way millennials do sport: The rules are complicated. It takes a long time to play. It’s not inclusive. It’s not diverse. Representation of minorities is low. Golf courses smell like a chemical factory to keep them green. I could go [on],” he said, noting millennials and Gen Z aren’t likely to ditch their core values as they age and adopt the sport later.

Of course he’s not totally wrong on the values front, but we do know the industry has made huge changes in recent years on multiple fronts. Not to time it takes and probably not diversity, but golf courses are definitely not smelling like a “chemical factory” either.

The bigger question, how many more years do we have to endure these articles before we just focus on how Generation Z won’t take up or play golf? I don’t know about you, but I’m ready!

There Are No Words Files: Running-Over-People-In-Golf-Cart Prank Videos

I take that back. There are words: pathetic, disgusting, vile, mindless and hopefully, in the end, expensive.

Business Insider's Sam Belden tries to make sense of the viral video trend involving golfers running over unsuspecting golfers with carts. He also rounds up examples for those who haven't seen these videos showing up on their Instagram accounts.

Apparently this idea of millennial humor all started with this Vine of a child running over another child, and support among various golf social media-driven sites, starting with Barstool Sports.

We now have as disturbing trend as I can imagine, and as someone who has seen too many Google golf news alerts on horrific wire stories of actual cart accidents and deaths), one that will not end well.

Belden writes:

The posts have gained thousands of likes and shares on social media. Fans love everything about them, from the brutal hits — a rare sight on the golf course — to the element of surprise.

But while the videos have brought joy to a huge number of Barstool followers, not everyone is a fan. Sam Riggs Bozoian, host of Barstool Sports' own "Fore Play" golf podcast, expressed a strong distaste for the prank.

"It got to the point where every time where we would post [a video of the prank] or I would see a 'Fore Play' account post one, I would cringe...It feels good to get it out there," he said on a recent episode. "I f------ hate those videos."

Amazingly, Barstool's Dave Portney has responded to his site's golf podcasters by putting a $1000 bounty on them to be run over by a cart. Their podcast guys Trent and Riggs seemed to understand the dangers involved of the viral trend that Barstool has fueled:

We’ve had David Feherty in the office. We have Padraig Harrington on the show this week. We had Brandel Chamblee in the office today. We do not want to alienate these types of guests and connections in the golf world by inevitably being painted as the guys who promoted the golf cart trend that ended up killing or dismembering some dude who was simply out golfing on a Saturday.

But their posts ends with some sort of compromised run-over, something about Stool Scenes and more than I want to know about one twisted little world.

Let the lawsuits begin.

Precious Millennials Files: SXSW's Golf Panel Edition

The cool kids are gathering in Austin this week prior to next week's WGC Dell Match Play and in a tradition unlike any other, a golf panel was assembled Sunday because, well, someone probably paid for it.

Apparently South By Southwest turned to an automated copy writer or someone from Bruce Lee's artisanal, small-batch, craft scriptwriting team to describe this "Intermediate" gathering.

Remember, I just copy and paste...

Brands must evolve and sports brands are no exception. But sports traditions are sometimes the most sacred of customs and golf may be the most brutal of masters.

It's debatable whether that was an attempted play on words, but the judges'll give it to them. Go on...

Golf is attempting thrive in an era that is changing so rapidly that the way a sport is consumed might be radically different in just one season.

Hmmm...profound, though not entirely accurate until I get a PGA Tour Live press release touting some numbers. Any numbers.

But hey, it's a golf panel at the cool kids conference, so I get the hard sell mode. I'll stop interrupting...

Does a round count at a Topgolf range and is a fan of an irreverent smartphone video worth the same attention as an argyle-wearing TV-watcher?

Ok, I know I said I was done interrupting but seriously? An argyle association?

How can golf keep the attention of potential fans? This panel will explore these challenges, examining what a game that can be burdened with its tradition and but lives by its history needs to do to survive the attention span of a 20-year-old.

Eh-em, golf's history dates back at least 400 years so I'm guessing it'll survive the attention span of today's 20-year-old.

But hey you guys explore, we can't wait to study the transcript for deep, deep thoughts on how to survive the 20-year-old's attention span!

Golf Experts: Millennials Watch MTV, Wear Cut Off Jean Shorts

In today's USA Today, Craig Handel talks to various golf experts about the need to cater to millennials if golf is to survive. While many of you undoubtedly find these articles depressing, I enjoy when experts openly express almost no clue about the generation they feel we must cater to.

Howler number one:

Between 130 and 160 courses are expected to close this year alone.

“It’s attributable to an aging baby boomer population and millennials watching too much MTV and having an attention span of about 30 seconds,” said Paul Chipok, who specializes in land-use local government work for law firm Gray Robinson.

Yes you know those millennials, sitting in front of their cable TV watching Carson Daly on MTV's Total Request Live every afternoon! Oops, wrong century.

The Great White Shark wants to let all of the modern day Huck Finns of the world do their thing.

Norman said it’s about evolving, trying to figure out how to attract millennials and growing the base again.

“If they want to play in cut-off jeans and a T-shirt at a public facility, let them go,” he said. “If they want to go on the course with a skateboard, let them go. If they want to put an iPod in their ears or play music, let them go.

This is the view, even though most surveys have shown that millennials are intrigued by fashion and bespoke style, something golf could use to its advantage (but after golf just let all of us change into jeans when at a club and not feel dirty walking out of the locker room.)