Something incredible happened this week.
It wasn’t the fact Jordan Spieth chucked away a jacket, shit happens, even to the best on the planet.
Nor was it the fact that Danny Willett won the most famous golf tournament on the planet. On this particular continental plate we have seen the lad from Sheffield steadily progress up the rankings and put in stellar displays before.
A normal bloke won The Masters.
In an age where our sportsmen tend to be brands/robots who watch their every word for fear of upsetting sponsors how incredibly refreshing to see a working class lad with a thick Yorkshire accent doing the business.
In the travelling circus of the professional golfing world many of the stars seem so far flung from reality. Could you imagine Martin Kaymer working in your local newsagent or Jason Day doing your plumbing?
No matter the background they come from players seem almost incapable of not being sucked into the world of hedge fund sponsors, polite meet and greets with hospitality and being the centre of attention.
And is it their fault? Probably not.
Easier to listen to their management who come from that large corporate golfing world too. Concentrate on your golf and make everything else as simple as it can be. You can't blame them!
But with Willett for some reason you can imagine him pottering around Tescos (In fact I can’t even imagine him in a Waitrose), you can imagine him chatting to a guy at a petrol station or backing a van in.
In the north of England you soon know about it if you get too big for your boots. Chances are your family won’t let you, your friends certainly won’t and your neighbours... even worse!
‘Ey up, ya see tha’ Willett lad down Waitrose. Bit big for ‘e boots buyin’ Ciabatta? Who do ‘e think he is?’
Here is The Masters champion backing vans in...
Growing the Game
British golf is crying out for a personality. Someone who can inspire the ordinary bloke. Not just kids to play the game but for people to watch it, and turn up to events too. Someone to root for.
We have Rory but you could argue he’s had that small town boy managed out of him in favour of mindless sponsor’s content and wordperfect interviews. He’s been Americanised and you get the feeling he’s afraid to be himself unless he’s 150% behind closed doors.
In golf unlike football or faster games you rarely get a chance to see the emotions of players on the course. So you need to see something off it.
In Willett for want of a better phrase what you see is what you get.
And that’s not to say he can’t make a load of money either. Someone like this could transcend the game of golf by standing out and grow a massive following attracting people and brands that don’t normally associate with golf.
Not just golfers, but sports fans.
Not just sports fans but housewives who love the boy next door.
The Housewives Favourite
I spoke to my Mum yesterday and this was our conversation.
“Did you watch the golf?”
“What about that Danny Willett lad. He seems a nice boy. They had his parents on the news, seem a lovely family.”
“Yeh, they seem nice.”
“And did you see his lovely wife? Just had the baby that was meant to be born in the tournament.”
“Yes Mum. Did you see that clutch shot into 16?”
“And his Dad was a vicar. Did you know that? And did you see his brother who is a teacher on that Twitter thing?”
You get the point...
If golf wants to be on the front pages or even in the back pages (This is a metaphor, nobody reads newspapers anymore) it has to have a story to people outside of the game.
It can’t be what clubs did Willett have in the bag or what was his fairway’s hit percentage.
To grow the game we need to see personalities. That doesn’t have to be stand-up comedians, or even supermodels, but just relatable normal blokes.
Just like our Danny Willett.
Words - Ryan Curtis
I'm the Managing Editor at The Club. I like putting and Rioja. I dislike my low slice.