Will golf suffer from the Tiger scandals?

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No matter who you blame for the tragic soap opera that the life of Tiger Woods has become – Tiger himself, the media, the mistresses, the sycophantic enablers who surround him – there’s no denying that this string of embarrassing disclosures about his private life will have an impact on golf.
The man who once represented the ultimate in power and performance has now become a punch line for comedians. Certainly we wish the best for Tiger and his family as they seek to piece their lives back together. But, like others in the industry, we can’t help but wonder what the long-term fallout from his irresponsible actions will be.
When Tiger first emerged on the scene a little more than 10 years ago, he generated what some called the “Tiger Effect.” His appeal drew millions – especially young people – to who never had an interest in golf to the game. While that initial appeal may have faded insofar as creating new players, Tiger has become a major brand for the golf industry. He drives the sale of Nike clubs and apparel. He has a fledgling golf course design business and is working on high-profile development projects in Dubai, Mexico and North Carolina that are depending on the Tiger name to sell property.
Can he recover? The answer is yes. If you doubt that, just watch any basketball game on TV and you’ll see NBA star Kobe Bryant – who five years was arrested on a highly publicized rape allegation -- prominently featured in one commercial after another.   
In the meantime, though, operators already struggling to keep afloat have to wonder what Tiger’s fall from grace will mean for the golf industry.
Do you  believe the Tiger scandal will negatively impact the business side of golf? Does his bad behavior off the course reflect poorly on the game? We’d like to hear your views.  


Yes I believe it will hurt golf. I have already spoken to a few friends that said they will not watch him anymore on TV. As much as he did for golf originally he has now hurt the sport much worse than Kobe or Michael Jordan did for basketball. I think this is much worse as that it never ends with the many women he has been with and how some are saying he is a sex addict. His image will never be the same.

No one is bigger than their sport, Tiger didn't add to the participation in golf as a sport, he only added to the non-golfer viewer ratings for TV-hence the big TV advertising contracts. Golf has always been more about character than ball striking and trophies. His keepers have let him down and his persona is tarnished. Byron Nelson, Jack Nicklaus, Ben Hogan and Arnold Palmer are the images of character the game will be remembered for. The main culprit is money, too much of it...

I am very, very disappointed in Tiger. It is not that I needed him as a role model (I'm 60), but I so admired his attention to details in his approach to the game of golf. As much as I admire his ability I think that I will have to look to someone else to be my favorite player. As for his affect on the game, except for the lunatic fringe that find danger in everything, I think golf--like most professional sports, will go on just fine. Somewhat changed, but still a successful and admired profession.

Over par to forgive! http://latimesblogs.latimes.com/sports_blog/2009/12/tuesdays-poll-has-your-opinion-of-tiger-woods-changed-now.html

If you don't think this will hurt golf, you're naive. Tournaments will suffer when fans don't come out to watch him anymore, and certainly won't bring their kids. Sales of anything with his brand will obviously suffer, and the fringe fans who he attracted to the game will disappear.

Its all about the "If" statement: "If" he can still do this: http://greenfees.com/courses/US/us_tw.phtml

Let's hope the game of golf is bigger than Tiger. Yes, he will have an effect on viewing and attendance at tournaments. But will anyone be playing less golf because of this?

The long term impact on the golf industry will be negligible. In some camps, Tiger's popularity will dive, while in others, it will actually improve. His foibles humanize him and will energize a core golf market of horny, youthful adult males, who will admire his conquests over star-struck women as much as his golf course victories. OTOH, classes of individuals with less testosterone in their bloodstreams (women and middle aged men) will be unimpressed, to say the least. Maybe some people will eschew tournaments, but that will be balanced by the likelihood that the popular press will be keeping Tiger in the headlines for months to come. One major downside of this news story is it distracts folks in the industry from THE big issue: making the game easier and more accessible for beginners and occasional players.

The game will survive with or without Tiger. He never brought the huge numbers of new players to the game everyone hyped or hoped that he would. The only thing he brought in a big way was more TV money for the PGA Tour and its players. That brought huge endorsements and outrageously over priced equipment for the golfing masses. The number of players and rounds have been flat since 2000...the golden era of the Tiger phenomenon. Tiger has no one to blame for this other than himself. He is the typical type A personality that says I can do whatever I want and I won't get caught or no one will care. Tiger's father created his personality and led him to believe he could do no wrong. I don't think Tiger will survive this professionally. His ego and personality won't let him. His stature among fellow Tour players will certainly be tarnished. There is a huge religious contingent on the Tour I think will look rather disgustedly on the whole mess, then they will all say they forgive him...wonder what those wives will think. Already articles are coming out where players are saying they have lost all respect for him as a person. What will that do for his intimidation factor? When and if Tiger reappears this year he will be an entirely different player. That is unless he chooses his profession over his family.

Golf is not Tiger & vice versa, tho they are depicted that way. Golf is a very fine sport enjoyed by multitudes; that won't change coz of Tiger. Tiger is a let-down, tho. This is supposed to be a "Gentleman's game", & he's tarnished that, short term at least. Sports stars are & should be held to a high standard & set a good example. I still can't get over Vick & detest the fact that the NFL let him back in. Tiger fell into an unfortunately common trap (tho not as bad as Vick), & he'll just have to work his way out of it. He is a talented man. Or, he can retire independently wealthy from the sport that gave him so much.

It will hurt the PGA Tour a lot harder than the game of golf. The game will survive, the Tour will have trouble with ratings, as they always do when Tiger is not present. Ratings however, the next time he plays, may go up. Having said all this, so long as he keeps winning, it is hard to say what will happen. I think he is better off getting divorced and moving on to a different chapter in his life, hate to say it, but PR wise it's the best thing for him.

Many good comments here. I agree with the consensus that Tiger has hurt himself and his sponsors, more than the game of Golf itself. And Yes, let's do hope he can learn from his mistake and take responsibility to change.

CBS News interview: Harry Smith spoke with sports agent Leigh Steinberg about the possibility that Tiger Woods may lose endorsements: http://greenfees.com/courses/US/us_tw_image.phtml

I actually think this might benefit golf in a strange sort of way in the short run. Certainly, Tiger's next appearance in a golf tournament will be a huge draw for viewers on TV and even those attending tournaments. Everyone will want to see the next saga in the story. Everyone will be anxious to see if his play is affected in some way or if there will be hecklers or whatever. Many people will want to be there to say they saw it in person. I've found many, many of my acquaintances and friends, some of whom have never golfed, are interested in this story and are following it closely. In the long run, however, there could be negatives. Certainly it hurts the overall image of professional golf which for some reason has always been viewed as being on a higher plane than other pro sports, I think.

Player of the Year? Tiger? Doubtful? http://greenfees.com/course/US/us_pga10_09.phtml

Link error correction: http://greenfees.com/courses/US/us_pga10_09.phtml

If Tiger is like a normal person (and on some levels he is) then he will seek an escape from his family issues and the ONLY place he will find it will be on the golf course. We all know the cheers will start again the first time he makes a birdie in competition, and if he gets off to a hot start this year everyone will say how great a competitor he is because he is able to block out all the negative publicity and still dominate. If I were counsuling Tiger, I would have him play in as many events this year as possible..even more than his first few years on tour. Winning is a great deodorizer for dirty laundry.

ESPN Sobel - Tiger Time Off phone interview: http://greenfees.com/courses/US/us_tw_timeoff.phtml

This is the best video I have seen to date. Skip Bayless is very outspoken and gives insight. This is worthwhile to listen to: http://greenfees.com/courses/US/us_tw_goodguy.phtml

Tiger Woods should be admired for his extraordinary ability to play golf. That said, in my opinion he has done nothing to enhance or promote the game of golf. He has been exploited by the USGA, PGA and the golf media to their financial benefit. In addition his influence on the tournament purses has brought a new group of golfers who are only in it for the money. The Palmer, Trevino, Player type of golfers loved the game and made a substantial living as a result. Love of the game came first and the money followed. Not so today. Tiger should "retire" and let golf return to its roots.

As the saying goes, "somebody likes every shot in golf". So "the scandal" will benefit the likes of TMZ, Deadspin.com and the NY Post as golf has entered a celebrity gossip or soap opera phase. TV ratings will be great when Tiger returns but of course will continue to suffer without him, which hurts the tour and its players. But the less visible people of golf -- the owners, lenders, merchants, even caddies -- need is not more or less Tiger, but more golfers playing and enjoying and spending on the game. And Tiger has not and will not be a meaningful factor for this "golf". And finally this Tiger escapade is a very strange chapter in the history and lore of golf. And that will suffer, but only temporarily. Rightly or wrongly the whole thing is fascinating with once again truth being stranger than fiction.

Yes, Tiger Woods is a brand, just like Barack Hussein Obama. Both are good example of the American dream. Today no one can afford to replace Tiger Woods since the whole sport depends on Tiger Woods' performance. TV channels, will lose $200 million due to Tiger Woods decision. Let's calculate who will effect of absence of Tiger Woods: TV channels, golf courses (development, green fees etc.), golf education, golf equipment manufacturers, golf tourism, golf media etc. The list could be very long. I assume it is worth at least of $3-4 billion. In current economic climate no one can afford this luxury.

Tiger's actions will hurt Tour revenue, Tour attendance, Tour purses, Tour charitable donations, the Tour image, Tiger's income, Tiger's future endorsement appeal, Tiger's image, Tiger's brand, the Tiger Woods Foundation, and Nike's revenue. Golf will be just fine because Tiger never did all that much for Golf as I know it. I've been playing the game for over 40 years, and about all he brought to the game that affected me were a lot of golfers who looked cool in their Nike shirts and caps but knew absolutely nothing about golf etiquette or pace of play. They also contributed mightily to the increase in the cost of a round of golf and the equipment we buy. I did enjoy watching his incredible feats, but I can live without those when weighed against the reality that he lied to all of us - not just his wife - about who he really is. And the other shoe hasn't dropped yet. Wait until we all find out that he used performance enhancing drugs; that even his spectacular golf was a lie. That he cheated at the game we love. If that turns out to be true, he will become the Barry Bonds of golf.

Tiger is human. This, if anything, proves that. Until we have walked in his shoes with his money and his life style, who are we to judge what he has been through? Did he cheat on his wife? Yes, of course he did. Is he the only athlete, let alone the only PGA player to have cheated on his wife, absolutely not. I am glad that you brought up Kobe because that is a prime example on how personal matters will not have a lasting effect on the reason we watch these individuals, which is their ability on the court or the course. Tiger has been through so much in the last three months that I would not even begin to think what must be running through his head. For example, the apology Tiger gave last week. Did he have to apologize to his peers and the public like that? Absolutely he did. He could not hide it, regardless. Do I think that the apology meant anything to him? Perhaps, but a monkey could have written that speech. Tiger got up there, read from a stack of papers, and got chocked up a time or two. But do you think Tiger is truly sorry for what he has done or just the simple fact that he was caught? There is no doubt in my mind that I am one of the biggest Tiger Woods fans on the planet. I do not support what he did, but I understand and appreciate the fact that he has a private life. I will respect that. I spend many days on Twitter just trying to set the record straight with people making false accusations on the man. His sex life has nothing to do with you or me, and we should not judge him because of this. Tiger will break record after record when he does make his return to golf. He will eventually be judged for what he does on the golf course, and that is all. Tiger Woods is a golfer and he is not living his life for us, his sponsors, or anyone but himself and his family. So to Tiger, I salute you for keeping your life as private as possible and even naming your boat "Privacy". I do not respect him for what he did to his wife, but I respect him for the reason you should; his ability to play golf.

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