Names like Jack Nicklaus, Arnold Palmer, Lee Trevino, and Gary Player seem to be folk tales of golf’s past. At least they seem that way to this current generation. Those who saw these legends play were able to bask in the glory that was golf’s Golden Age. You had the stone-cold Nicklaus who dominated major championships for 30 years. Then there was Plamer who was the game’s ambassador and most beloved figure.
Guys like Trevino and Player weren’t nearly as dominant as Palmer and Nicklaus, but they added a dynamic to the competition which made golf so interesting and unpredictable.
But then there came a lull, a time where golf wasn’t exciting. The Palmers and Nicklaus’s were fading away and a new generation hadn’t arrived just yet.
Suddenly there was a roar. Tiger Woods burst on the scene with a furry as he dominated courses with ease. It was as if he wasn’t from this planet or maybe he was part machine with a flawless swing that could be repeated time and time again. Woods was fun to watch, but golf became predictable when he was in a tournament. You knew that somehow he would be in the final pairing on Sundays.
As Woods fades out of the picture, we see a light rising…a golden light. It is a sign that golf is going to experience a renaissance and enter its second Golden Age.
The stars are aligned for golf’s elite stars – Jordan Spieth, Justin Thomas, and Rory McIlroy – to take the fans back to a time where the sports competition was fierce and unpredictable.
This new generation that will deliver golf’s second Golden Age is much different, in all the right ways. For starters, the players are no longer just guys ‘who play golf’ for a living. The players today consider themselves athletes and take working out and dieting into account more thoroughly than before. A few golfers in the past like Player and Woods were pioneers for this, but as time has gone on golfers have become just as focused on their physique as they are on their swings.
— TPI (@MyTPI) September 25, 2017
Building a good physique doesn’t just give a golfer a longer drive. They are also able to withstand a long season of multiple tournaments, four major championships, the FedEx Cup playoffs, and either the Presidents or Ryder Cup at the end of the season. Golf is nearly a year-long sport but its elite have trained themselves to provide endless entertainment.
The other factor that made golf’s last Golden Age so memorable was the charisma that the players had. Palmer was at the forefront of this and players like Trevino and Player followed suit. But fans never had the chance to connect with them on a personal level unless they went to a tournament.
Today you have Rickie Fowler, Thomas, and Spieth all connecting with fans via social media. It’s almost like you are on the PGA Tour with these guys. Connecting with the golfers on Tour makes it more fun to root for them because fans feel like they are rooting for someone they know.
Sure, there still is an aura that surrounds these professionals but once they are off the course they become normal guys who go on vacation, hang out with friends, and do things outside of ‘work’.
There is no doubt that 2017 has marked the beginning of golf’s new Golden Age. The FedEx Cup playoffs were a sneak-peek into what is in store for next year (and the decades to follow).
Decisions. Decisions. Decisions.
The nominees for Player of the Year are … pic.twitter.com/37i8X5dILs
— PGA TOUR (@PGATOUR) September 25, 2017