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Monday, July 2, 2012

Tiger at 74 and true golf fans

Tiger reaches 74th PGA Tour win

Tiger Woods won the AT&T Congressional for his 74th PGA tour victory, passing Jack Nicklaus at 73 and now alone in second on the all-time list trailing Sam Snead's 82 wins.

The reactions of self-professed "true golf fans" are rather curious.


In this 2012 golf season, Woods has won three PGA victories, which is more than anyone else in golf. He also leads the money list, and leads the FedEx Cup standings.

It's noteworthy to appreciate that, at 36 years old, he's ten years ahead of Jack Nicklaus' production, and seven years ahead of Snead's production; and that Woods still likely has at least ten productive years ahead of him, barring injury or boredom. So, sit tight - love him or hate him, we'll be talking Woods for a long time to come and his legacy will be discussed forever - if he pulled a "Barry Sanders" and just quit right now, he'd be 2nd in career wins and 2nd in major wins and since #1 in those categories are not the same person (Sam Sneed in career wins, and Jack in major wins) there's plenty of argument that Tiger is "the greatest" in his own right, especially when we get into total puts and other hard golf numbers). 

With ten years to go (which means he's got a shot at 40 majors, looking to win five more; and a shot at plenty of PGA Tour victories, looking to win nine more) he will likely be number 1 in both categories by the time he retires.

However, what's particularly interesting, and what prompted this post, is the curious position of so-called "true golf fans."

True golf fans

I went to ESPN to look at a number of golf stories this morning. For each story on Tiger, there are hundreds of user comments, positive, negative, whatever. But, after looking at several non-Tiger golf stories, most had 0 comments and I was the first to comment; others had a couple or three comments perhaps. All told, at all the other stories I read combined, there weren't 5% of the total comments that any single Tiger article generated.

The point is, ESPN ran the non-Tiger stories, and anyone is free to comment to their heart's content. All these so-called "true golf fans" who are so determined to enjoy golf without Woods seem incapable of just going out and enjoying a golf story that doesn't either include Tiger or include an opportunity to complain about Tiger.

There are plenty of good golfers out there these days...but the observable reality is that they simply do not generate the kind of reaction that Tiger generates, either way. 

In fact, often, the haters will complain that ESPN looks for a reason to mention Tiger even when he's not in contention, rather than simply talk about whoever is doing well. But, if the comments are any indication, ESPN acknowledges that, to get people to hang around and talk about golf, they've got to mention Tiger because, if they don't, there's not much to talk about. That's not ESPN's fault.

If these haters want to fix it, the simplest thing to do is to show up at non-Tiger golf articles and join the conversation, and don't mention Tiger if at all possible.

If anyone were to take the survey today, they'd see very quickly what so many see - Tiger inspires more golf talk than all the other golfers combined.

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