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Golf Australia Express : GA Express 272
THE VIEW MOVING THE NEEDLE ... HE'S BETTER THAN MOST T here’s been plenty of chatter about today’s young stars not really understanding what golf with Tiger Woods in full flight is like but that is an observation equally true of fans and media. I’m talking here not so much about Tiger’s play, incredible though that has been over the years, but his impact on coverage of the game. Or Tiger Mania, as it was once known. Zach Johnson summed up the feelings of a lot of players when he said in Hawaii two weeks ago: "I'd love to have these young guys that are dominating the game have a piece, just one year of what we experienced." I share Johnson’s sentiment but rather than the players I’m hopeful that fans and media who’ve come to the game more recently get to see what those of us of a certain vintage once took for granted. I’m old enough to not only know that Tiger won the 1997 Masters but to have written about it at the time. I also recall the first wave of Tiger Mania, which broke out after that incredible 12 shot victory and consumed almost every column inch of every golf magazine of the time. The internet was young then and there was no Twitter or Facebook but if there had been, it might have broken. Four years later we found ourselves in the midst of Tiger Mania 2.0 when, incredibly, Woods held all four major trophies simultaneously after his victory at the 2001 Masters. This was a feat nobody in golf, possibly even Woods himself, thought possible and the hype rightly matched the achievement. Since then we’ve had a couple of episodes of Tiger Mania Lite, such as his five victories in 2013 or the 49,000 extra tickets printed when he announced he would play the Wyndham Championship in 2015 for the first time, but nothing to match what had come before. Until this past week. As Woods made his comeback at Torrey Pines, we began to see the possibility of Tiger Mania 3.0 and for supporting evidence I direct your attention to Wednesday’s pro-am. With all due respect to Jordan and Dustin and Jon and Justin et al, none can move the needle like Tiger and Wednesday at Torrey proved it. At 6.45am Woods hit off the 1st tee of the North Course with his pro-am partners and the PGA Tour’s own Twitter feed was there to cover the moment. They posted a nine second video of Woods hitting a 3-wood in the semi darkness and within 15 minutes it attracted 25,900 views. Some 25 minutes later, when Woods made a birdie at the same hole, a second video was posted. This one went for 41 seconds and more than 70,000 people watched it. A final video of Woods getting up and down for birdie at the ninth attracted more than 18,000 looks. Having covered the game for some 20 odd years I can never recall a pro-am round attracting that sort of scrutiny and I can’t imagine any other player capable of generating that sort of interest. It is just a small taste of what Tiger Mania 3.0 might look like and if Woods can once again do things we didn’t think possible, then there is a whole generation of fans, media and players who are in for the ride of their lives. Buckle up folks, this could be good. E ROD MORRI is an award-winning writer and podcast presenter. He hosts The iseekgolf.com Podcast weekly. CLICK here to listen.
GA Express 271
GA Express 273