Growing up watching golf in the UK you quickly learnt one important fact; Americans win golf tournaments most of the time. For a period during Tiger’s dominance it seemed like European players were living in a winless abyss.
When it comes to golf America dominate in every regard. You have over 15,000 courses with 25 million active golfers; that’s half the world’s supply of both. Three times as many golfers play in the North America compared to the entire of Europe. This obsession carries through to major tournaments. Going into this year’s Masters a total of 59 Americans own a green jacket, leaving other nations trailing. And by trailing I actually mean shackled to the starting post. South Africa 5, Spain 4, England 3, it really is an uncle Sam administered shellacking.
That being said, when you poke deeper into the statistics you quickly realise that America are actually becoming less dominant pound for pound. I took the total number of active male golfers from each playing nation (guys who play more than 12 times a year) and compared it to the number of golfers representing their country at Augusta this year. The results will surprise you.
In the top corner you will find the amount of active golfers it takes for a country to produce one entree at this year’s Masters.
What is the big takeaway from this data? I would say that the recent success of non-American golfers is down to the increasingly global nature of the sport. Perhaps proportions show that the narrowing of opportunity can motivate golfers to try even harder. America has an extensive collegiate golf program, I’m not saying that it’s easy street for those trying to make it, but compared to the rest of the world it’s considerably more achievable. A young guy in South Africa has to work that much harder, this would go some way to explain their incredible ratio.