With the golf season over, all eyes turn to the NFL. The National Football League, in all its wife-punching, child-lashing, drug-taking, drunk-driving, raping, murdering glory.
Let’s be honest. Professional football’s best days are behind it. Its highest-rated Super Bowl was in 1982. Yeah, 33 years ago. Jack’s win at Augusta came four years after the highest-rated Super Bowl. Let that settle in.
Golf, on the other hand, is poised to enter its Second Golden Age — after two decades of media-driven hype aiding and abetting IMG’s conversion of the PGA Tour into a mindless celebrity reality show. Now, with Rory, Fowler, Horschel… we’re seeing the kinds of battles we had in the days of Hogan, Palmer, and a young “Fat Jack” Nicklaus.
I don’t want to invoke a penalty for piling on, but lately I’ve seen too many insulting comments of the “golfers aren’t athletes” variety. I’m not really sure what that’s supposed to mean, but clearly the intent is to paint golfers as something less than manly. That’s ridiculous, of course. In fact, I submit they have it bass-ackwards. Here’s why:
- In golf, you smash a drive into a hazard. In football, you hike a ball between your legs and throw a pass to the tight end.
- In golf, you play the ball as it lies. In football, if a player is not standing in just the right place, you get a do-over.
- Golf is played in the midst of alligators, bobcats, eagles, wolves, and bears. Football is played in the midst of grown men who dress up like those animals.
- Golfers hit clubs made of titanium. Football players use a ball made of the same material as women’s shoes and purses.
- Football players wear helmets, and yet there is still a penalty for an “illegal blow to the head.” In golf, helmet-less fans line fairways where golf balls head their way at some 200 mph. If a ball strikes a fan on the head, or any other body part, he gets an autographed glove from the player who beaned him, which he then holds up for the cameras like a winning Lotto ticket.
- Golfers hit the links. Football players (and their fans) hit women.
Finally, here’s what a golfer looks like when he plays: