Golf

Time for a major redesign in golf

Padraig Harrington with three of the four 2013 golf Major winners (©GettyImages)
Padraig Harrington with three of the four 2013 golf Major winners (©GettyImages).

Golf is one of the most popular sports in the world.

In the United States, golf’s superpower, there are 17,672 courses - which is 50% of the world’s courses.

This interest has transpired into domination of the professional game with male players representing the United States, winning a total of 258 Major championships.

The second placed nation is Scotland with a combined 54 Major titles.

Despite the success, participation in golf in the USA has subsided. According to the National Golf Foundation of the United States survey’s from 2000/05, Americans who played Golf has decreased from 30 million its highest position to its lowest position of 25 million.

Since 2005, numbers have steadily increased to 29 million in 2012 but the recession and the increased popularity of other sports such as the NFL and Major League Soccer have hindered golf’s rehabilitation.

In fact, American’s title of golf’s superpower has increasingly been under threat.

China has seen participation in golf increase, with a growth of 7.5% published by the 2011 China Golf Industry report.

It is projected in 2020, that 20 million Chinese citizens will play golf.

This expansion into China and other Asia countries such as South Korea and Japan has presented golf with an opportunity.

Golf like any sport needs to satisfy its upcoming and profitable market.

Therefore, the introduction of a fifth Major or the relocation of Major to Asia and Oceania needs to be implemented.

Tour and Match play competitions have already been introduced to induct Asia into the golfing world such as the World Golf Championship in Shanghai, the President’s Cup and the Eurasia Cup.

Organisers of the PGA Championship have considered moving the championship abroad after 2020 with Royal Portrush in Northern Ireland. Asia and Oceania courses are also a possible destination.

Yet, Asia and Oceania (which has always had strong support for golf) need a Major championship to cement golf as a major event on their sporting calendars.

A Major Championship in this area of the world would not assist the development of young players like 14-year-old Tianlang Guan but be a celebration of golfers who have championed the sport in Asia and Oceania such as Vijay Singh, Greg Norman, Ian Baker Finch, Adam Scott and K.J Choi.

Golf has already pulled off a coup by becoming an Olympic Sport for Rio in 2016 and Tokyo in 2020.

However, a fifth Major in Asia and Oceania would result in golf becoming a truly global sport, which could remove American’s monopoly of the sport.


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Topics:
PGA Championships
PGA Tour
Golf

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