Some guy named Bart won the Tour Championship over the weekend, and in doing so, I think pointed out one of the problems that golf has as a major sport: i’ts almost totally personality driven.
In each of the other major sports, it’s really the team that matters. Players come and go, but the Yankees are still the hated (beloved) Yankees, the Cubs are lovable losers , the Cowboys the self-styled America’s Team, and so on.
Even NASCAR, which is probably the next closest thing to a personality driven sport, has its “teams.” I know guys who root for Roush Racing, and who cheer for Fords over Chevys. (Of course, it also has its personality cults—witness the whole Dale Earnhardt thing. I know a guy who has a whole room dedicated to the Intimidator)
But I’ve never heard anyone root for Callaway over Titleist.
And when a guy not named Tiger, Phil, Vijay (the New York Yankees of Golf), Retief, Ernie, Sergio or Daly isn’t in the hunt, people lose interest.
I don’t know that there’s a real solution here—or even that people are looking for one. It strikes me that the whole upcoming playoff thing is nothing more than an attempt to get the top personalities to play more often.
The official line is that the “race for the championship” will generate its own kind of excitement, but the more I think about it, the less I believe it. There will be absolutely no excitement if the above mentioned one-name guys aren’t in the hunt.