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Golf Australia Express : GA Express 315
WATCHING THE RICH GET RICHER S o The Match (or Capital One’s The Match, as it should be officially known) has been and gone but the chatter about the $9 million boondoggle between Tiger Woods and Phil Mickelson rolls on. Mixed would be the best way to describe the reviews so far. Technical issues with the pay per view aspect meant most people ended up watching for free (and those who paid are being refunded their money) while the more important element – the golf itself – was less than stellar from all reports. Play on the day aside, however, the potential repercussions of what was on show at the weekend are broad and intriguing. According to most – irrespective of its success or otherwise – The Match was just a peek into what will likely be a big chunk of the golf entertainment landscape of the future. Winner take all big money matches with large side bets along the way are seen by a not insignificant number of people – some of them quite influential – as an entertaining way to consume the game. But if you have mixed feelings about aspects of this style of golf you are not alone. Head to head golf is nothing new and more than one wise old golf soul will tell you the Shell’s Wonderful World of Golf series of the 1960’s was the best televised golf in the history of the game. A quick search of YouTube confirms this to be a legitimate position. Those one-on-one encounters served a dual purpose: to simultaneously promote the Shell Oil company as well as golf, golfers and the game in all corners of the globe. What unfolded this past weekend – while sharing elements of what made the Shell series so appealing – was a very different beast. There was a matchplay element (always welcome), star names to create interest and a venue few knew much about. That’s where the similarities ended, however, and The Match delved into territory some find less appealing. There is a logical appeal to two of the game’s heavyweights facing off for a purse large enough to make both nervous. In theory, it should be riveting. But the reality is the game at the top level is now so awash with money that dollars are virtually irrelevant as a motivator. If you don’t think this is true ask Australian Open organisers about getting any of the world’s top 10 to make the trip to these shores. And does anybody genuinely believe Tiger walked away from the trip to Vegas at the weekend completely empty handed? There are other problems with the concept also, not the least of them being the crass nature of the pre-tournament promotion this past week. Many found photos of each player sitting behind the huge pile of cash that was at stake to be jarring and somewhat of a turnoff from watching. But perhaps the biggest problem with the concept is that the golf is secondary. It is classic ‘cart before horse’ thinking and is why, as a golf spectacle, it brings little, or any, real interest. There are dozens of ideas floating around the internet that would help improve this product in a myriad of ways and hopefully some are taken on board ahead of the next instalment. Because if it remains just multi-millionaires playing for more multi-millions – of other people’s money – then it will hopefully die a quick and natural death. VIEW THE ROD MORRI is an award-winning writer and podcast presenter. He hosts The iseekgolf.com Podcast weekly. CLICK here to listen.
GA Express 314
GA Express 316