When does the golf season end? For those of us who live above a certain latitude in the Northern Hemisphere our season as participants ends when the courses close, because, to be honest, if they kept them open we’d continue to show up and play in all sorts of frightening conditions. But I’m talking about golf as a spectator sport.
You know when baseball season ends. Ditto for football, hockey and the rest. There’s a championship, a victor is crowned and you move into the offseason. Players rest (and play golf), and fans move on to other sports or different forms of entertainment. There is, though, for every sport a Nerd Minority who don’t or can’t let go, but during the offseason they just wind up talking to each other in the nether reaches of the internet where they can swap stats and debate the relative merits of second string running backs.
Things come to an end and there’s a certain beauty to that. As Dan Hicks once sang, “How can I miss you if you won’t go away?” Absence does make the heart grow fonder. For a red-blooded American sports fan there are few sentences more beautiful than “Pitchers and catchers report next week.”
Ah, but not golf. Maybe back in the day, but no more. Now our professional golf elite are like extremely well compensated migrant workers who earn their money traveling to wherever the sun is shining and the grass is growing. Tournaments take place in warmer, more humid locales. As fans we are treated, I suppose, to the slightly surreal experience of turning on the Golf Channel and seeing a competition from someplace on the distant underside of the planet where tomorrow is already happening.
But are we better off? And wouldn’t the players benefit from having a break and getting a chance to do something different, like play baseball or hockey?
What brings this to mind is, among other things, the Presidents Cup. Be honest, are you all that excited? The whole thing feels like an unsatisfactory stand-in for the Ryder Cup. Now that’s the real thing, but since it only happens every other year we had to go rustle up another game. It’s like having your regular foursome fall through and being forced to find some other game. It’s just not as good.