Hawkins On State Of The Game

Finally got around to John Hawkins' essay on the state of the game, which artfully sidestepped a few sticky issues while also offering some good, solid honest assessments about the golf industry. (And nice to see Golf World not simply devote its 60th anniversary issue to patting itself on the back).

He's especially good in this piece when taking on the question of whether the game needs to grow and produce new players.

Of course, one man's game is another man's business. Without growth, you're standing still, and if you're standing still in a public sector, some guy in a striped tie won't be getting his obese year-end bonus. You can't rightfully begrudge a man for driving profit margins--the dude wants to retire early so he can, ahem, go play golf--but the organizations that want most to grow golf have an obvious financial stake in their message. The PGA of America on a recreational level, the PGA Tour in terms of spectators and TV viewers--both operations regularly compromise the game's essence and integrity to generate additional revenue for themselves.
But do they really have to compromise the game's essence in this pursuit?

On a smaller point, I thought this was a great observation. 
Woods' greatness brought golf a fleeting burst of mainstream presence for a couple of years, but the novelty has long since worn off, and now we've returned to the second row of the sports hierarchy.

We saw the same thing happen in the early '90s with the Senior PGA Tour. A sexy mix of clock-punching club pros (Tom Wargo, Larry Laoretti) and silver superstars (Jack Nicklaus, Lee Trevino) created a ton of buzz, prompting former commissioner Deane Beman to make a 40-week schedule out of the concept. By the time Woods began reconfiguring the game's competitive landscape at the far end of the decade, Geritol Ball was just a cute little fad whose meter had expired.

Which is why it's crucial to close off the Champions Tour Q-school to more of those clock punching club pros and other non-PGA Tour lifers so that we can see Mike Reid gets in 25 starts!