About two weeks ago I was scanning through some radio stations and stopped at the sports radio show I tune into once in a while. The hosts are talking about March Madness and how, in they’re opinion, the NCAA Tournament is the best sporting event going. Meanwhile, they’re fielding calls from listeners agreeing or disagreeing with their choice. Some say it’s the Super Bowl. Some choose the World Series. Others give their opinions on the NBA Championship or the Stanley Cup. But one caller chose to take things in a different direction than the rest.
One caller asked why no one, other than he, were considering The Masters to be the greatest sporting event going. While one of the hosts at least took it into consideration, the other practically laughed him off the line. The host paying attention and going along with it even interjected that he actually prefers the U.S. Open over the Masters and considers that to be a worthy choice. But his co-host? Not a chance. There was no way this guy was going to consider a golf tournament to be one of the greatest sports events of the year. But why not? The Masters is one of the four biggest events, arguably the biggest, in the golf year. It’s loaded with stars of the PGA Tour, tradition and fanfare. So why could he be talking it down? I have a few ideas.
1. It’s too boring. Let’s face it, watching a golf tournament on TV doesn’t really hold a candle to watching the other major sports, even if it is a major. It’s quiet, slow-moving and honestly, we see the balls more than we see the actual players. There’s plenty of skill and technique involved, but that doesn’t translate to the average sports fan because for all of the skill and technique there is, it doesn’t really require much athletic ability. It’s just a tough sell, especially to sports fans who live in or close to a bigger market where professional teams from the big three sports play.
2. The timing of The Masters. There are two things wrong with the time of year the Masters occurs. For starters, it happens right after The Final Four. You can certainly argue that the NCAA Tournament is the greatest sporting event year-in and year-out. So it’s incredibly hard to follow that up – and when you follow something as exciting as the Final Four with golf? Well, you see the problem.
The second problem is that it occurs right at the beginning of the golf season. We asked this a couple of weeks ago – why would the biggest tournament of the year happen right at the beginning of the season? The timing of the sports biggest tournament just doesn’t make much sense.
3. There is no championship. We’ve been down this road several times as well, but it matters! There are four majors, but somehow none of them represents some type of tournament championship. So when there are four “big” tournaments, they all end up discounting each other. And if we can’t even decide which of the four is the most exciting in that particular sport, then how could we even try to compare it to any others?
It’s funny, but as much as I enjoy playing golf, I’m just not all that interested in watching it. Is it possible that it’s because of the reasons above? Maybe. See, I need to know that the tournaments are going to mean something at the end of the year. I don’t care who won the most money. I don’t care what some complicated ranking system says. I need a championship. Now get me one of those installed at the end of the golf season and then you can start to convince me that it’s among the most exciting sporting events of the year.
Swing ’til you’re happy!