Why Tiger?

By Amanda Humer

Almost three years after a scandal that shocked the golf world, left Tiger Woods in disgrace, caused him to lose several sponsorships and caused the downward spiral of a golf career that has only recently started to recover, why is the media still so obsessed with Tiger Woods?

Tiger is no longer the marketable man he once was. In the past, people forgave his surly, condescending attitude because he was on his way to achieving greatness. Three years ago, no one would have doubted that Tiger Woods would easily beat Jack Nicklaus’s record of 18 major wins. Now Tiger fans hang onto the mere hope that he will win any tournaments, much less a major. Tiger has fought his way back up the World Golf Rankings this season, but he is still far from the man he once was. His lack of personality makes him difficult to market when there are so many talented young men with vibrant personalities. Tiger has fallen far in the last few years, but for some reason has not fallen far in the eyes of the major media outlets.

With so many great up-and-coming golfers, it is strange to me that the media relies so heavily on Tiger Woods. It would be ignorant for me to argue that Tiger Woods does not fuel ratings when there are thousands of people that turn off the television when he is not in contention. At the same time these media outlets and the PGA tour, which place so much focus on a single player, are alienating the audiences that are watching because they truly love golf. There have been countless occasions when I have been watching a tournament and cameras have cut away from another player to show a Tiger Woods shot. With Tiger in contention in the final round of today’s Deutsche Bank Championship, Louis Ooshuizen’s second-place finish was overshadowed by media coverage of Tiger’s -5 round and third-place finish. The media should focus on making coverage of the sport less biased and more representative of the field playing.

Anyone that has walked the course at a golf tournament recently would see hundreds of men, women, and children decked out in Rickie Fowler Puma gear. Rickie Fowler, Bubba Watson, Ben Crane and Hunter Mahan went viral on YouTube with their now famous “Golf Boys” video. Stuart Cink is one of the highest followed golfers on Twitter.  Rory McIlroy is number one in the World Golf Rankings. These men all reflect the sport as the gentleman’s game it is known for, yet every week before a tournament, the question on every media outlet’s mind is “Could this be Tiger’s tournament?”  I think these outlets could reach a larger fan base if they broadened their marketing strategy to include these players and therefore reach a larger target audience.

The major media outlets and the PGA Tour should stop trying to sell the Tiger Woods of old and instead focus on the next generation of golfers that is emerging.

 

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