Where would golf be if Tiger never existed?

KEV

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I know it's been discussed in general in other threads but let's dive deeper in to this. What would the state of golf be if Tiger never came along? What would the purses be? Would golfers be in such great shape? Would courses have ever been lengthened and would distance be an issue? Would golf companies have advanced their technology as much or as quickly without the amount of new fans Tiger brought in? There are so many areas that Tiger has impacted and I thought it could be fun to discuss.
 

Nate<80

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This is a great topic. This is very general, but Tiger made the game what it is today. People were and are still to this day so in awe of him. It is awesome to hear the young up and comers on tour say that Tiger was the reason they got into the game. I think this is the case for so many of us. Tiger was so inspiring and took the game of golf to a whole new level, and he continues to do that to this day.
 

Tenputt

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It’s hard to know, obviously, but one thing is for sure. He broke some pretty rigid racial barriers. These are the words of Lee Elder in 1997, after Tiger dismantled the field at Augusta: "All blacks have hoped and prayed for a day like this to come," he said with emotion. "I felt like it would, but I didn't think it'd be this soon with this young man. To see someone like him win here in 1997 ..."
 

KEV

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I try to think of someone that had an impact on a sport to this extent. Your major sports like football, basketball, baseball, etc. have such an advantage with so many teams and players and there doesn't seem like there is ever a shortage of talent. Sure someone like Jordan coming along brings more eyes to the game and created a brand but did he have as much of an impact overall? I just can't think he did.
 

Sox_Fan

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Certainly not anywhere what it is today. Some of the more athletic guys (i.e., Koepka, DJ) may have chosen a different sport to concentrate on had it not been for Tiger making golf cool. I don't think there is anyone of the tour that is not thankful for Tiger and the impact he had on the sport and their life. Aside from professionals, he was the reason for the explosion of golf on television which in turn gave OEMs more chances to market their products to the people buying their products. And there were more people interested in their products and playing the game becuase of TW which prompted technology to keep improving and evolving. Every segment of the golf industry benefited from the GOAT.
 

KEV

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Certainly not anywhere what it is today. Some of the more athletic guys (i.e., Koepka, DJ) may have chosen a different sport to concentrate on had it not been for Tiger making golf cool. I don't think there is anyone of the tour that is not thankful for Tiger and the impact he had on the sport and their life. Aside from professionals, he was the reason for the explosion of golf on television which in turn gave OEMs more chances to market their products to the people buying their products. And there were more people interested in their products and playing the game becuase of TW which prompted technology to keep improving and evolving. Every segment of the golf industry benefited from the GOAT.
Thinking about the equipment, would Nike have ever got in to the golf equipment game without Tiger? Obviously that didn't end well but they still gave it a go and were a part of golf history.
 

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I am pretty sure Tige was perfect timing. I think tv rights came up for renewal right after his first Masters win. I imagine purses would be a good bit smaller but none of the top 125 would be poor or anything.
 

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I think the game would have developed much more slowly from an athletic standpoint and surely from an inclusivity standpoint. Growing up, I saw at as a stuffy, exclusive rich man's game. Tiger changed that.
 

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I’ll be the contrarian. I don’t think anything would have changed.

The dot.com era had young millionaires sponsoring businesses, players and tournaments. Money grew in every single sport.

Timing was perfect and it’s not possible to discuss growth without race being a factor, but any sort of dominance and I believe similar results happen.
 

ArmyGolf

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I think we first need to ask what his largest contributions to golf are.
Making high level fitness basically a requirement?
Making golf cool to multiple younger generations?
Attracting more sponsors?

I feel like golf would have eventually ended up in the same place, it just may have grown in a more steady fashion.
 

InTheRough

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Tiger had the skills and the charisma.
 

chile

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I’ll be the contrarian. I don’t think anything would have changed.

The dot.com era had young millionaires sponsoring businesses, players and tournaments. Money grew in every single sport.

Timing was perfect and it’s not possible to discuss growth without race being a factor, but any sort of dominance and I believe similar results happen.
what if Patrick Reed was the embodiment of that dominance, tho?
 

Badger_Golfer

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I would say that golf would still be much more of a rich white man's sport than it is today. Tiger made golf cool for a whole generation of kids who grew up wanting to play golf and had it not been for Tiger, many of those kids likely would have played other sports.
 

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Assuming Woods never existed, the game would have still flourished. Just not as much.

Some other pga golfer would have carried the pga torch, and the media hype for that player would have kept that torch fueled, and lit.

Since Woods didn't exist, that torch carrying player would have been the reason for the uptick in golf's popularity. Just a guess on my part, but maybe 60%-70% of the popularity generated by Woods.
 

JB

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what if Patrick Reed was the embodiment of that dominance, tho?
I would say that people have a tendency to overlook pretty big flaws when dominance is in place
 

Snickerdog

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Interesting topic. The game will always evolve, it is just a matter of how fast it may grow. It took leaps with Tiger.
 

DG_1234

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Tiger has been a pro for approximately 22 years. During that time, especially the early years of his career, Tiger's presence improved pro golf's television ratings, helped increase tournament sponsorship dollars-prize money, and increased appearance fee money as well as corporate sponsorship contracts for all Tour players.
However, during Tiger's 22 years as a pro , at least here in the SF Bay Area, the number of golf courses and players has decreased,.
So, I think Tiger's presence has helped other Tour pros increase their income, but done nothing to increase amateur golf player participation.
 

TCB2010

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Tiger has been a pro for approximately 22 years. During that time, especially the early years of his career, Tiger's presence improved pro golf's television ratings, helped increase tournament sponsorship dollars-prize money, and increased appearance fee money as well as corporate sponsorship contracts for all Tour players.
However, during Tiger's 22 years as a pro , at least here in the SF Bay Area, the number of golf courses and players has decreased,.
So, I think Tiger's presence has helped other Tour pros increase their income, but done nothing to increase amateur golf player participation.
Where have I heard this from?
 

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I'm sure it would have advanced, but I think it'd be foolhardy to think it'd be anywhere near what it is today without his influence.
 

TCB2010

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Without tiger you’d have a bunch of random winners, no one dominating week in week out, golf televised would be done 30%? And the San Francisco Bay Area‘s courses and players would be up 100%.

For some reason I keep hearing tiger has hurt SF somehow.🎩
 

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There was no one even close to Tiger Woods at the time he came on the scene. He had just won three straight USGA MENS Amateur tournaments. He had the blessing from Jack, Arnie and Gary Player. He came on the tour and started winning right away. He demolished the Masters as well. He was breath taking with some of his unbelievable shot making. No one in my estimation electrified the game like this since Arnie in the last part or the 50's and 60's. Would the game today be the same without his presence, I think not. There is no one today who has the ability that Tiger has shown in his first ten years on the tour. There are a few but they are hot and cold. Woods dominated for that ten year period until injuries and marital problems helped stop his burning flame.

I look back on the Palmer era and wonder if he had not come along and brought golf out of the doldrums TV coverage might never have gotten as big as it did during that time. I don't think Jack would have done it even though he was a better golfer than Arnie. Arnie was a man of the people and was a go for broke kind of guy. His playing style brought people to the game as viewers and new players my self included. Tiger did the same only on a bigger scale
 

Canadan

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I know it's been discussed in general in other threads but let's dive deeper in to this. What would the state of golf be if Tiger never came along? What would the purses be? Would golfers be in such great shape? Would courses have ever been lengthened and would distance be an issue? Would golf companies have advanced their technology as much or as quickly without the amount of new fans Tiger brought in? There are so many areas that Tiger has impacted and I thought it could be fun to discuss.
I think the impact he has on the game is palpable every time he makes a comeback, or competes in a tournament.

There is no question in my mind that golf would be years behind in both basic interest, and success. Tiger broke down a multitude of barriers to this game that opened the door to so many people.

From a company standpoint, I really don't think much would have changed. Obviously more money = more freedom to R&D but I think in many ways they would have found their own way... When you really think about it, much of the tech being created in those buildings is designed for non-professionals anyways.

I'm just glad he did what he did (and continues to do).
 

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fuffle master

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I think without Tiger, golf would be similar to Tennis post 80’s. Tennis lists it’s charm and has struggled to get that back. The characters like Andre Agassi, McEnroe, Jimmy Connors, Chrisy Everett, Martina Navratilova, and Steffi Graf made the sport so popular. Tiger himself captured the attention like this all by himself to propel golf as a must see sport.
 

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