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Golf Could Learn A Lot From The World Cup

The Grateful Golfer argues that golf could benefit from the introduction of the World Cup’s playoff style format.

The media hype is growing as the 114th US Open quickly approaches. The second golfing Major of the year is considered the most difficult to win, yet has more multiple winners than both the Masters and PGA Championship.

Many pundits will make stats-based comparisons; however since it is the most junior of the Majors (started in 1934) it is difficult to make any real meaningful conclusions. Regardless, the golfing world will watch with anticipation in hopes of seeing some miraculous shot, complete breakdowns, or players breaking the rules that result in dire consequences.

The US Open will garner plenty of support from the sporting world, but it is possible it will be overshadowed by the start of the 2014 FIFA World Cup held in Brazil. This much-anticipated event also starts on Thursday, June 12, with the opening match between Brazil and Croatia. For the avid sports fan, sharing their time between golf and football might be difficult.

The World Cup is the world’s largest sporting event followed by millions of fanatic football (soccer) fans. Despite being the world’s most played sport, it brings a level of excitement unparalleled anywhere in any sporting event. The playoff format of ‘one and done’ is the only way to create a sporting frenzy.

After all the training, commitment, and dedication, the playoffs add extra spice to the mix.  If a team loses in the playoffs they go home.  Past performances do not matter; world rankings do not matter; all that matters is playing for the moment. Consider the greatest World Cup upset of all time; Uruguay over Brazil, 1950, demonstrated that at any given time, anyone can win.

The hype around the World Cup eclipses every sporting event in the world. Currently, the National Hockey League and the National Basketball Finals are on. The format of these prolonged best of seven type events has a tendency to drag on with the excitement waning after each game. Unless you are a real sports fan, it is difficult to stay interested over a two-week period watching the same two teams.

Golf has no such event that creates the same hype as the World Cup. There is no real “David and Goliath” excitement; the underdog remains under; and there is no last-minute heroic sand shot remembered for 60 years.

The closest golf has to a playoff type event is The FedExCup. Unfortunately, the same group of player’s week in and week out win large purses without any real excitement. It is somewhat exciting for true golfing fans, but the current format does not generate the enthusiasm in new viewers like the World Cup.

Golf should take a page from the World Cup’s book and use qualifying tournaments to set up the 125-man field for one playoff tournament.  Have cuts on the first three days to whittle the last day number down to 30 players and then let the chips fall where they may. Lose and go home! Get hot and walk away a millionaire!

Regardless of their world ranking, it allows that 125th ranked player the opportunity to reach out and rip the title out of the hands of some golfing giant.

This format would make for great golf. It would create a must see golfing event for all sporting fans!  All sport nuts remember the huge upset, but rarely remember the team that should have won. Creating more excitement on the golf course is really what most fans want.

The Grateful Golfer, Pundit Arena.


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Author: The PA Team

This article was written by a member of The PA Team.