The PGA Championship wrapped up Sunday afternoon in one of the more exciting finishes to a major in recent memory.
There were 6-7 people who were right in it up until the very end, but Justin Thomas was able to takeover with a series of great shots down the stretch that helped him make birdies while everyone else struggled to get past the 6-under par mark.
It was the fourth win of the season for Thomas, and his first career major, putting his at the top of the list for the PGA Tour Player of the Year as we get ready for the FedEx Cup Playoffs.
Thomas is just the latest on a long list of young stars on the PGA Tour who have incredible talent, and are winning majors at young age.
But that’s actually a problem for the Tour.
The TV ratings from Sunday’s final round were revealed Monday morning, and they were the lowest since 2008.
While there are a ton of great, young golfers out there, there is nobody out there who moves the needle anymore, like Tiger Woods did in his prime.
Each week on the PGA Tour you hear something along these lines: “Oh, Player X is another one of those young studs who hits it a mile and plays fearless golf! He could be on to great things with this win/showing!”
And that’s the problem. There really are TONS of young, strong, talented golfers who are hitting their prime after growing up watching Tiger Woods…but there is nothing that makes any of these players more exciting or different from the other 40 guys on tour who look and play exactly like they do.
Thomas has four wins on Tour this year, and prior to yesterday, he could have walked through my living room I’d have no idea who he was. And I like to think that I follow the PGA Tour more than the average golf fan.
Jordan Spieth, the biggest name in golf right now, has one major this year and two other tournament wins. That’s a great year on Tour, but to the casual golf fan, that’s nothing. That doesn’t stand out. He hasn’t gone on some run where he wins 2-3 times in a row, wins a major by 10 shots and grabs the attention of the general public.
Part of that is because there’s too much talent. It’s almost impossible to go on a run like that now, again, because every golfer out there hits every drive 330 yards, and plays an 8-iron into a 575-yard Par 5. It’s amazing to watch, but when every golfer can do it, it gets old after a while.
Ever since Tiger’s career and life went down the toilet, golf has been looking for some savior to bring it back to that level of popularity that made the sport cooler than it had ever been. Rory McIlroy, Spieth, Ricky Fowler, and countless others have been labeled as the guy who could be “The Next One” but in the modern PGA Tour, I don’t see how that’s possible when every golfer looks and plays the same.
It sort of ties in with the idea of parity in sports. Yes, it’s more exciting for more teams/fans/players if half of them have a chance at winning, but it’s boring for casual fans if there is nobody who sets themselves apart.
People complained about the Warriors and Cavs dominating the NBA this season, but the NBA Finals did huge ratings. And as we mentioned earlier, the PGA Championship, despite being exciting and having a big chunk of players in the running for the title, dipped to a 10-year low. Spieth wasn’t in it, McIlroy wasn’t close. Fowler flirted with the top for a bit but never seriously threatened.
There was no big name that made it appointment viewing.
It’s quite a place for the PGA Tour to be in. They’ve never had more young, exciting talent, but there’s so much of it, especially in an individual sport, that nobody can stand out from the pack.