PGA Tour recognises major winner’s new place in the world golf hierarchy.
The PGA tour have updated their ‘Players’ homepage and yours truly has been relegated from the spotlight. Some have been critical of Tiger’s continued prominence in PGA based promotions, calling for a more realistic picture of who is at the top of the sport. This picture shows the recent changes made to the site.
The world number 351 has indicated that he could be out for up to a year, triggering news commissioner Tim Finchem to make the alteration, a decision many think has been long overdue.
Describing the selection to SB Nation a tour spokesperson stated that “those five players are five of the more popular searches we have for our players”.
These images are more than just a veneer of the game, they represent the rotten foundations of a sport that constantly picks marketable value over international growth. Where the hell is Jason Day? You know, the best player in the world!
I’m not knocking Rickie for a second – he is a great guy and even better for the game. Yes, he spanks Jason Day on social media, giving fans a unique insight to his colorful lifestyle unlike any golfer gone by. But is he less popular? Not according to Google search, where Day has 100 times more online impressions than Fowler.
The issue highlights how the PGA TOUR is marketing the game completely wrong. Day’s story – which includes a rough childhood in a low-income home in Australia – is arguably golf’s most inspirational story amongst its elite athletes. While I love Phil Mickelson, the 5-time major champion is no longer a member of golf’s elite. Yet the PGA TOUR keeps marketing the game through the likes of Woods, Mickelson and Fowler. If the TOUR can’t sit back and realize why young people aren’t enthused to take up the game, the game needs to take a serious look at itself.
The TOUR gets a large source of its revenue from the 50 plus “official marketing partners,” who pay between $1 million and $40 million per year for certain rights. Companies such as GE, Citi, Charles Schwab and FedEx account for a large slice of this pie and their target market is almost exclusively Americans aged 35-55. This helps us understand why golf is portrayed the way it is, because players like Phil and Tiger are what the sponsors want. I’m not saying companies like this aren’t crucial to the success of the PGA TOUR, however, when they start influencing how the game is portrayed we have a big problem. Golf is contracting amongst young people, the most important demographic for its future well being. So please stop painting golf the way sponsors want to see it and start showing it in a way that will ensure more kids are inspired.