‘Grow the Game’... it’s all we ever seem to hear about in golf.
But what does that actually mean? Does it mean getting more people playing golf? Does it mean making the golf industry bigger? Does it mean golf getting more media coverage?
Either way, a lot of people are slagging off Rory for his comments about the Olympics at The Open this week…
"I didn't get into golf to try and grow the game. I got into golf to win championships and win majors.
“I’ll watch the Olympics but probably not golf. I’ll watch track and field, swimming, diving… you know the ones that matter.”
Apart from the fact Rory is well keen to watch diving I don’t really see what is surprising here?
Given the fact that most of the top players in the world have dropped out of the Olympics shows it doesn’t matter. If you win gold now without the world’s best players it’s not going to mean a lot to real sportsmen.
And of course Rory got into the game to win majors rather than ‘Growing the Game’... that’s not to say he doesn’t help do that more than anybody currently playing the game simply by being young, cool and wearing Nike gear.
The American TV pundit Brandel Chamblee said Rory had ‘insulted’ everyone who had fought to get the sport in the Olympics before saying Rory would ‘regret this moment more than any other moment in his whole career’.
What a load of rubbish.
Firstly I’m sure Rory regrets more snap hooking one into someone’s swimming pool on the 10th at Augusta holding a three-shot lead back in The Masters final round of 2011.
Secondly, these people who think getting golf in the Olympics will ‘grow the game’ would have been served well to listen to popular opinion and the pros back then. Any sport where the Olympics is not the pinnacle devalues both that sport and the Olympics.
These superstars are your product to help grow the game and golf is blessed with some awesome young talents at the moment… but the way they are being marketed outside of golf and the path for most people to actually pick up a golf club is not a simple one.
That matters a lot more than Rory saying he won’t be watching golf at the Olympics.
So while golf journalists globally moan about Rory speaking his mind and being honest, frank without PR crap to the insular world of golf… the ones over here forget perhaps the biggest thing happening this week in terms of ‘Growing the Game’.
This is the first week ever in the UK, that golf’s most famous tournament, is not on free-to-air television, for the masses to see.
So no matter how improved Sky’s coverage is, unless kid’s parents can afford the £100 per month subscription, millions of the next generation of Rory’s won’t get the chance to be inspired by the magic at Troon.
Growing the Game?
Rory is doing his bit.
I'm the Managing Editor at The Club. I like putting and Rioja. I dislike my low slice.