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Fink: Golf is not boring

| Wednesday, September 19, 2018

Golf is not boring.

It was the Saturday of the Masters last April. Patrick Reed was in the lead with Rory McIlroy making aggressive strides to close in. As I sat watching the broadcast from Augusta in my dorm room, my roommate laid down to take a nap. I offered to mute the TV in order to give her silence to sleep, to which she responded: “No worries, honestly the golf will probably help put me to sleep.” Put you to sleep? The Masters? As Rory McIlroy completes his fifth birdie of the day? Sure, it wasn’t the final round. Sure, not everyone is a golf fan. But the stark regard that golf is so boring it will put one to sleep? How can a sport so rich in history, competition, skill, emotion and excitement be regarded as boring?

Golf is not boring. I have grown up watching and playing golf for as long as I can remember and some of my best memories have come from sitting on the couch next to my dad on a Sunday with golf on the TV. While golf broadcasts often lack the glamour of loud music or flashy intros, golf’s best moments — a 20-foot winning putt, a one-hole playoff — are right up there with a winning touchdown in the Super Bowl or an overtime goal in the Stanley Cup. Yes, there are some mundane tournaments along the Tour. You won’t necessarily find me watching the John Deere classic in mid July, but you also won’t find me watching the Mets play a series against the Marlins midseason either. But when you sit down on the couch on the Sunday of the Masters, the U.S. Open or any other major tournament, and you have no idea how that round is going to end, how can that be called boring?

Golf is not boring. OK, golf can at times be slow moving, but golf’s greatest moments are produced out of tense, unpredictable, high-pressure situations. Situations that make viewers hold their breath or close their eyes, and then celebrate as if they’ve never seen something so exciting. Just because no one is running or hitting each other, doesn’t mean it’s not exciting. Tiger Woods 2004 chip in to win the Masters, any and every hole-in-one in a tournament, Justin Thomas’s ball sitting on the lip of the hole for 10 seconds before it finally dropped in and he could celebrate an emotional first major win with his dad or Sergio Garcia winning The Masters after playing in 74 majors. The Ryder Cup — an absolute must-watch event for any American (and if you don’t believe me watch it Sept. 28), the European comeback of 2012, or the powerful U.S. win in 2016 just days after Arnold Palmer had died (a moment arguably as exciting as taking down Canada in Olympic hockey). In these moments history is made, hard work pays off, fans are cheering, excitement and emotions are high. How can that be boring?

Golf is not boring. OK, there are no halftime shows, or cheerleaders at golf events, no fireworks or pump up videos, but need I remind you that at the Zurich Classic this past April players had walk-up songs? If seeing Justin Thomas approach the first tee with “The Circle of Life” playing in the background doesn’t get you pumped up, you should probably rewatch “The Lion King.” And while other aspect of flare often associated with sports are lacking in golf, player celebrations rival those of any other athlete. Victor Cruz salsa dancing after a touchdown? How about Jordan Spieth’s icon chest bump after holing out of the bunker at the 2015 Travelers Championship, or Tiger’s iconic fist pump that so many other golfers have adapted. There’s even a hole at TPC Scottsdale where fans dress up and act as if they were at a football game. How can that be boring?

Golf is not boring. Okay, after a while it may seem repetitive, drive-chip-putt-repeat, but let’s not forget the out of the ordinary moments of golf and the laughs they give us. A seagull stole Brad Fabel’s ball at The Players back in 1998, in 2014 Rory McIlroy hit his tee shot into a fans pocket, at The Masters last year Sergio Garcia hit is ball in the water five (five!) times in a row, at this year’s U.S. Open Phil Mickelson managed to hit a moving ball (intentionally) and at the PGA championship, Tiger Woods changed his shirt roughly four times a day because he was sweating through it. How can that be boring?

These are the moments you can’t make up, that you don’t necessarily see in other sports. These beautiful, historic, emotional, tense, unpredictable and odd moments that make up a golf tournament are what makes golf such a watchable, entertaining sport. So, I’ll say it again, golf is not boring.

The views expressed in this column are those of the author and not necessarily those of The Observer.

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