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Growing the Game….I don’t think so!

“If your only goal is to be become rich, you will never achieve it“
John D. Rockefeller

We are living through some strange times in the U.K. and around the world. Post pandemic adjustments, a major war in Europe, crazy oil & gas prices driving inflation and a cost of living crisis, public sector strikes and an under siege government stuttering from one scandal to the next.

What we really need to take our minds off these challenging events are some feel good stories from the world of sport. Specifically the world of golf which has just produced a compelling US Open resulting in a first major win for England’s Matt Fitzpatrick.

Great result for European Golf and great news for Scottish golf fans as Matt had already committed to playing The Scottish Open at The Renaissance Club in East Lothian. The event will now have all current mens major champions competing with Scottie Scheffler (world no.1), Justin Thomas and Colin Morikawa. The world’s best then head up to St Andrews for the historic 150th Open Championship contested over The Old Course and numerous legends will be playing at Gleneagles on The King’s Course for The Seniors Open before we get to see the finest women golfers gather for the AIG Women’s Open hosted this year by The Honourable Company of Edinburgh Golfers over the mighty links of Muirfield.

A classic summer of Scottish golf featuring the very best players on some of Scotland’s finest courses. It all sounds very positive and yet these much anticipated events are being forced to play second fiddle across golf media by the dastardly duo of Messrs Norman & Mickelson, emboldened by the seemingly limitless supply of sports washed funds from those crazy golf obsessed rulers of The Kingdom of Saudi Arabia.

Seen by some as a fresh and bold initiative taking the men’s professional game into the modern world and in the process providing a boost to growing the game. Seen by many as a money grabbing farce consisting of a series of 54 hole big money handouts with no cuts and a pile of money even if you fail to break 80 in every round and finish dead last.

One event down and more questions than answers.

Just how much money does your average multi-millionaire tour star actually need?
What price would the likes of Lee Westwood or Ian Poulter pay for just one major to add to the golf career c.v.

How exactly does this blingy pantomime intend to “Grow the Game“?
The answer is brutally simple. It will do nothing absolutely zero and never intended to do so. Any reference to such plans in any press conference is due to P.R. panic and damage limitation.

If this LIV Tour organisation had any ambition to positively impact the game generally they would be allocating very significant funds to junior development programmes, sponsoring a range of small tours and championships for aspiring young pros and this would be for both men and women.

If any of the Saudi Superstars gave a nano second thought to giving something back and deploying a percentage of their new found wealth in a worthwhile cause then what about purchasing one of our numerous public golf courses which are are routinely being abandoned by cash strapped local governments, create sporting centres of excellence and make the facilities available to absolutely everyone; an inclusive approach their oil rich paymasters remain largely opposed to.

Quite incredibly after many months full of disparaging comments directed towards all the LIV Tour bad boys, The PGA Tour has now decided its best strategy is to replicate the format, admittedly on a more modest budget but retaining the no cut everyone is a winner approach.
Just Wrong.

Kids get excited about sports when they see the best playing the best, producing exciting finishes in a great atmosphere.
Open Championship 1977 at Turnberry – 3rd round
Nicklaus v Watson
Father & son day out; that was me hooked.

Create closer competition by rolling back the equipment, placing more emphasis on creative shot-making, invest heavily in the women’s game, increase number of mixed tournaments including a mixed team event, support clubs with all junior programmes and allow free entry to all pro tournaments for under 16’s/18’s.

Do all that and you could then honestly claim to be doing your part to Grow The Game.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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