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Tuesday, April 21, 2015

Tiger's Effect on Golf

This year, the crowd and the 14 million television viewers watching on the final day of the Masters witnessed the rise of the next generation of golfers. Of the Top Five finishers, three of the golfers were 25 years old or younger including the eventual Champion Jordan Spieth, who is 21. This Masters victory not only signifies his arrival but it announces the arrival of a younger generation. This rise can be attributed to Tiger Woods.

Regardless if he reaches the all-time majors record or not, Tiger Woods will go down as one of the greatest golfers of all time. More importantly, he will be the most influential figure in the history of the sport. The legends like Jack Nicklaus, Sam Snead, and Arnold Palmer will all take a back seat to him on being the most influential person in golf history.

Who is a golfer that inspired a younger generation to play at a higher level? Have you ever thought about it? An argument could be made that Tiger Woods is the one and only golfer who exceeded at this.

Jack Nicklaus or any other golfers did not have the same effect on golf as Tiger did when he first entered the 1997 Masters. The reason was because Tiger Woods was so young when he won his first. If you go back into golf history, Jack Nicklaus, Arnold Palmer, and other major winners were competing and winning Major tournaments were winning in their twenties but they were not dominating the field. Aside from Nicklaus, it was uncommon for an amateur or even a young pro in his twenties to win one of the four major tournaments, let alone dominant. This is what made Tiger special.

He broke the mold. As a 21-year old golfer, Woods won the 1997 Masters while setting the tournament record. All of these old-time records were set by men in their thirties or forties. In fact, that was the case for most of the tournaments. Golf before Tiger Woods was generally an older profession. Woods' victory was so rare and unheard of that it inspired younger golfers to put forth the effort and work ethic to become as good as Woods.

This Nike commercial that aired before the Masters illustrates how every current young golfer felt when watching Tiger Woods play. The young golfer in the commercial evolved into Rory McIlroy. McIlroy symbolizes a lot of golfers of this generation. As Tiger began his torrid 1999-2009 golf years, this younger generation watched and continued to work hard to one day reach that level.

Almost 18 years after Woods' first Masters win, look at the amount of young golfers playing professionally and winning major tournaments in their twenties. McIlroy has four major wins. The recent Masters winner Spieth is only 21. Webb Simpson won the 2012 U.S. Open at 27 years old. Keagan Bradley won the 2011 PGA Championship at 25 years old. The list goes on and on about the young, talented golfers.

Woods understands the influence he had on the younger generation of golfers like McIlroy. However,  he does not realize that he has affected more golfers than just McIlroy. This younger generation grew up watching and wanting to play like Woods in a similar way to how Woods wanted to be like Nicklaus when Woods was younger. The only difference is Woods had a much larger affect because of his success at young age.

"Golf used to treated as a leisurely pastime," Woods said in the interview. "Now it is considered a sport."

This change within golf is directly related to Tiger Woods. The way Woods was winning tournaments especially when he was in his twenties was astounding. He won 8 majors before turning 30 years old. He was beating the field by numerous strokes. As Woods was doing this, these younger golfers like McIlroy and Spieth would practice and play with the intention of one day playing better than Tiger Woods when they reached 21 years old.

Nicklaus certainly was a terrific golfer in his twenties but much of his accolades came in his thirties. Woods was different. He received immediate attention by being the youngest major winner and dominating the tournament field.

People commented on how Woods would change the game for black golfers and would lead the charge in the influx of black golfers. It has not happened yet, but if the real trend was how Woods changed the perception of golf. Woods not only proved he was a rare talent like Nicklaus. He also proved any hard working young golfer could make the PGA Tour and be a dominant player. It is this drive that has elevated the play of the new young generation of golfers, and it is this drive that has made golf more than just a "leisurely pastime."


  1. The main focus was on Tiger Woods but I thought it was very impressive how you connected his efforts to impact he is making on future generations. It is surprising that Tiger recognizes his affect as well.

  2. I thought the story and the presentation was well crafted and well written. A lot of good information.

  3. I really liked your presentation. It was a very interesting point of view that I had never thought about before. I also like all the information you included as well, as someone who has never watched and knows almost nothing about golf, you made it easy for me to follow along and understand easily.

  4. It's weird to think of Tiger as a grizzled vet; it doesn't seem like he's old enough to have inspired kids to become golfers. I thought finding the commercial and backstory about him and McIlroy was a good find and added a lot to your presentation.

  5. It was interesting to see Tiger talking about himself being a idol and role model to Rory Mcllroy. His role models were Jack and Arnold, and he had the chance to play with them. And now Rory gets to play with Tiger in majors. And not just play with him, but also beat him, as Rory has won three majors to his credit. I agree with you premise of your presentation that players like Rory, Jordan Spieth, Dustin Johnson would not be playing today without someone like Tiger pushing them to be great. And even though those players will end up with decorated careers, there will never be another Tiger, EVER.

  6. Hi, Kyle! I really enjoyed your take on Tiger in your presentation. I must admit, when you introduced your topic, I thought we were going to listen to a full, in-depth, statistical, flat presentation on Tiger Woods. I thought the way you flipped it was really intriguing. I love that you showed us the Nike commercial during your presentation. That commercial is one of my favorites because I think Nike marketing really nailed it on the head, and I think you nailed your point right on the head as well. When I first watched that commercial, I had no idea who Jordan was and I was not that big of a fan of Tiger Woods; however, the commercial had the same effect on me as it did others. I think you're right, Tiger might not have the best personal history, but his legacy will live on through future golfers. Nice work!
    - Nikki

  7. The Tiger Woods phenomenon is always an interesting one to look at. I loved your idea about his influence on golf. A great spin on the idea of Tiger Woods image. Everyone now is all about his "negative" image after the accident with his wife. I loved how you worked to bringing the real impact of Tiger. He is the most influential golfer of his time no doubt, and I think you're right that he is of all time too.

  8. I thought you had a great presentation. You have great facts in your blog. I really liked how you compared Jack Nicklaus and Tiger Woods, and then Rory Mcllroy. This was a great way to compare each of the players to how the game of golf is changing. I thought the commercial you showed was very symbolic in comparison to the three player’s relationships of looking up to one another. My favorite line was this: “Nicklaus certainly was a terrific golfer in his twenties but much of his accolades came in his thirties. Woods was different. He received immediate attention by being the youngest major winner and dominating the tournament field.” The reason being that I thought it shed light on their relationship with one another and how the each looked at the other for advice/to keep their game strong. Great presentation!

  9. I love your presentation and how you brought light to Tiger Woods. A lot of people do not realize the effect of Tiger Woods on golf and that he is the greatest athlete in our generation. He kept winning major championships in a time when golf needed a "superhero". He was the icon of golf and has had the greatest impact on golf in PGA. Great presentation and i liked how you compared Tiger to the great The Golden Bear

  10. I really enjoyed the presentation especially showing the commercial with Rory and Tiger since it lends itself to the idea that Tiger has had such an influence on the up and coming golfers on the tour. Well written as well, it is easy to tell that golf is something you follow and find enjoyment in.

  11. I enjoyed your spin on the topic of Tiger Woods. It was interesting to hear your take on how his legacy has changed the game of golf. I agree his performance has inspired younger, up-and-coming golfers. You always hear the negative surrounding Tiger Woods, so it was great to hear how he has positively contributed to the game.

  12. Kyle,
    Your take on Tiger was enjoyable to watch and to read.
    I'm impressed with some of the comments.