Tag Archives: social media

The Awesome Humanity of Golf

Next to the scenic #16 green at Crooked Tree

Last month I embarked on a 30-day social media cleanse.  You have got to try this.  No Twitter, Facebook, or Linkedin for me (Snap, TikTok, and Instagram aren’t in my current lexicon).  With no golf to play on the weekends, I found myself watching oodles of sports without my smartphone as my couch potato technology-enhanced mindless spewing companion, and have emerged unplugged, refreshed, and feeling victorious. 

I learned that I didn’t need to Tweet after every bad play or missed call.  I also observed that golf had the lowest reliance on technology and automation, which aligns well to my enjoyment level.  Golf is just the player and their caddy against the field and the course.  The competitors created their own breaks, owned their mistakes, didn’t benefit or suffer costs from bad officiating, and play wasn’t stopped once for instant reply.  Totally awesome.

Are there distractions in golf?  The PGA Tour’s $40M social media Player Impact Program and the Twitter war between Brooks Koepka and Bryson DeChambeau are small blip distractions that have very little impact on the competitive integrity, other than some brief unsportsmanlike behavior by a few fans directed at DeChambeau. Outside of that there’s the odd Twitter spat to generate bogus interest.  I’m sure the players also have some technical points on their minds like spin rates, launch angles, and some other gibberish, that could distract them, but at the end of the day, it doesn’t matter.  You need to strike the ball solid and sink putts to stay relevant.  That has never changed and never will, and I Iove it.

Are you like me when you’re on the course?  I throw my phone in the bag and it’s out of sight and out of mind for four hours which allows me to clear my head for the same reasons.  Do you feel sorry for the poor hacks who are making calls between shots, texting their friends, blasting their music, and just not paying attention to their game?  I do.

Sports are inherently played and officiated by humans.  As artificial intelligence, data science, and automation advance, the human element yields.  With it goes a lot of the passion that drew us there in the first place.  Thank goodness golf is holding the line.  Because of the human requirements of the game, I can’t see this changing, can you?

Play well! 

40 Million Wrongs

My jaw dropped when I learned of the PGA Tour’s new Player Impact Bonus program.  To sum it up, the tour will divide $40M annually amongst ten players that “generate the most off-course buzz from fans and sponsors.”   Wow.  A league sanctioned entity awarding compensation unrelated to on-course performance. 

Under the program, players will be ranked by Google search ratings, media mentions, exposure ratings from Nielson Q Scores, and a non-performance MVP index algorithm.  This was a response to the threat the Tour felt from the fledgling Premier Golf League, that was trying to gather a select set of stars to compete in events with smaller fields and larger purses.  Well, that effort flopped and this bonus is a flopper waiting to happen.       

There is so much wrong here, it’s hard to unpack.  First, the PGA Tour is the world’s top golf tour where the greatest names come to compete.  Is this not enough?  The simple ability to test oneself against the world’s best is why many foreign players have relocated permanently to the United States.  Second, the tour has NEVER paid any money for non-performance; why start now?  The European PGA Tour is arguably the second-best circuit but has been roundly criticized for allowing six and seven figure appearance fees to lure players to its events.  Third, advocating self-promotion is a distraction the players do not need.  I’d rather have them focused on making birdies and winning rather than how many Tweets they can send out real time.  I’m getting flashbacks of Joe Horn’s NFL cellphone celebration – ack!  Please leave the self- promotion off the course and don’t pay anybody to do it.

The Tour recently hired Dan Glod to run its global sponsorship development.  I wonder if this is his brainchild?  A new identity for the Tour is definitely forming.  Did you notice it at last week’s Zurich Classic in the fourth round?  As the players were introduced, they were playing walk-up music on the first tee.  Really?  Save it for the WWE.

Play well.