It’s been a dozen years since Mike Weir’s epic win at the Masters and we’re still talking about how wins by Canadians will inspire kids in this country to pick up clubs and take up the game.
So if kids were six at the time of Weir’s victory at Augusta, they would now be 18 and yet most acknowledge the game is lacking in players of that age group, so did his win actually grow the game?
Have no doubt it, Weir’s win was a pinnacle for the game in this country that had the entire country watching and cheering as it happened and afterwards.
Not only did Weir accomplish something magnificent, but the way he handled himself off the course made him a role model we wish there were more of for our kids.
Certainly, Weir’s victory had an impact on kids who are now PGA Tour players such as Graham DeLaet and Roger Sloan. In this story by Colette Kennedy of CBC Sports, both acknowledged how that Masters win is still clear in their minds.
Both players acknowledge, however, that they were already in the game, so Weir’s win impacted the converted in their cases, as opposed to convincing newcomers to pick up the clubs.
So, the Weir influence was definitely an influence on the strong Canadian contingent on the PGA Tour these days and it wouldn’t surprise anybody if victory came soon with loud applause from golfers and non-golfers across the country.
Just look at the way this country tuned in when Adam Hadwin was in contention at the 2011 RBC Canadian Open. David Hearn caused a stir when he nearly won the John Deere a couple of years ago and Nick Taylor woke us up with his win at the Sanderson Farms Championship earlier this season.
A lot of eyes were on Graham DeLaet on the weekend when he went into the final round at Riviera with a good shot of coming out on top. It didn’t happen, but it will, so for now, we’ll hear more of the tune about how a win would help grow the game.
That’s a theory I heard at the Golf Canada AGM a couple of weeks ago and I’ve heard it a few times, to the point of being annoying, since DeLaet came so close on the weekend and it’s way too easy.
Another victory would get people excited and that’s good for golf, but let’s dig deeper when looking for ways to lure newcomers to the game.
That’s not limited to Canadians by the way.
We’ve had close to 20 years of Tiger Woods and he has indeed been great for ratings, great for golf, but in the U.S., they’re still trying to figure out how to boost participation, as well.
Golf often has a difficult time seeing past the tour.
When golf associations were concerned about players making golf courses obsolete, they weren’t talking members or public players, they were talking tour players, who should be the faces of golf with their shotmaking and power.
Yet, we can’t expect success on tour to suddenly fix participation challenges in a bolt of lightning.
That starts with us at this level and the realization that society is shifting on a daily basis, requiring everybody in the industry to stay on top of it.
The industry needs to look past the tours and look past golf itself and start thinking like the people it’s trying to lure the game, rather than falling back on the same old theories.
Time For A Break
With the Americans forming a task force to the amusement of many after last year’s Ryder Cup, there’s been a lot of chatter since they lost once again to the Europeans.
It culminated with Tuesday’s announcement that Davis Love III was returning as U.S. captain after his team lost a commanding lead in 2012 and that there would be four vice captains and four captain’s picks.
Sure, you can bet there will be debate about striking a task force just to bring back a guy who went down in flames as captain, or whether four vice captains is too many, but sooner or later this tedious five-month process will peter out, at least for now.
Doug Ferguson of the Associated Press had the best line.
Really thrilled about this announcement today. Mainly because we don't have to talk Ryder Cup for another year now. #exceptineurope
— Doug Ferguson (@dougferguson405) February 25, 2015