The following is a guest post by Colin Knight
Golf is a sport that is as popular as it ever has been. Though it lacks the speed of soccer, or the danger of motor racing, the sport still pulls in massive TV audiences, and huge crowds still flock to live tournaments. So what's the appeal?
The one thing that does make golf great sporting theatre is how rapidly things can change, even in the last few rounds of a tournament. In a tennis match, when one player wins the first set comfortably, then they will often go on to win the match. In golf, the leader in the clubhouse at the end of the first day of a tournament will rarely win the event. The uncertain nature of golf is what makes us watch and play the sport. No two days are ever the same and it's a sport that no one can ever really say that they have mastered.
The following is a guest post by Samaiyah Islam.
Golf, which was once a sport reserved for the rich and famous, has transformed into a pop culture phenomenon. You used to need country club membership and an aura of prestige to play the game. Nowadays, the game is played by anyone, ranging from your average everyday Joe to Hollywood's finest to professional athletes (not including those on the PGA and LPGA tours, of course) that use their respective off-seasons to fuel another sporting passion.
Yes, golf is huge. There have been classic, and highly quotable, movies that have revolved around the sport (see: Caddyshack, Tin Cup, Happy Gilmore, and The Legend of Bagger Vance). There's a celebrity pro-am before just about every PGA Tour event, where the area's notable celebrities and talking heads are able to play a round with some of the world's finest. And there’s been prominent golfing professionals, such as Tiger Woods — and more recently Rory Mcllroy, — that have made golf "cool" among the younger crowds and have helped grow the sport as a game for the masses and not just the rich and famous. The aforementioned golfers have made PGA Tour majors like The Masters must-see television, not just for golf fans, but for all sport fans.
The following is a guest post by Phil Oscarson.
If someone told you five years ago that Tiger Woods would be the favorite to win the 2013 Masters, your reaction might have been something along the lines of "well, duh." But no one could have predicted what would occur in the next few years for the golf superstar, including a scandal, a divorce from his wife, and the most surprising of all, a dramatic loss of form that has led to a 0-14 run in major tournaments. But this year has seen the reemergence of the Tiger of old, and Woods is the in-form golfer going into the Masters, helped by the recent struggles of Rory McIlroy. But what exactly would another Masters win mean for Tiger Woods?
He's back to his best
When someone has reached such lofty heights as Tiger Woods has during his career, he has the unfortunate problem of constant comparisons with his former self. However, a win at a Major is a pretty good indication that, even if he is not quite back to the level that he reached before, he is somewhere close. At the very least, it will complete the return of Woods as the world's number one current golfer.
The U.S. Open Golf Tournament is just under a week away, and all people can talk about is, "How is Tiger Woods going to do?"
In the Memorial Tournament last week, Tiger looked liked the Tiger of a few years ago, charging up the leaderboard on the last few holes to take home the trophy. Along the way, he knocked in an impossible shot (see #3 below) that helped him to victory. If you are a golf fan, you know that he has a huge list of great shots to his name. I decided to put together some of my favorites with video evidence for you. Check it out below:
#5 - 2008 Arnold Palmer Invitational at Bay Hill
Sometimes great shots don't have to be flashy, they just need to be clutch, and that is the case with this shot from Tiger. On the final hole of the final round of the Arnold Palmer Invitational, he knocks in the 24-foot putt to win. And, oh yeah, he was 0 for 21 in the tourney on putts longer than 20 feet before that shot.
#4 - 2001 PLAYERS Championship at TPC Sawgrass
The 17th hole at TPC Sawgrass is one of the most famous holes in all of golf. In addition to being surrounded by water, the hole's green is one of the toughest for golfers to read. Still, Tiger makes it look easy.
#3 - 2012 Memorial Tournament at Muirfield Village Golf Course
The most recent of Tiger's great shots came at the 2012 Memorial Tournament. Down one and in the rough, he knocks in this shot for birdie, which propelled him to the win. Golf great Jack Nicklaus said it was the best shot he has ever seen.
#2 - 1997 Phoenix Open at TPC of Scottsdale
Any time someone puts in a hole-in-one, it's a great shot. But the reason I have it this high on the list is the reaction of everyone in attendance. The fans, his fellow golfers and even the announcers were pumped after the shot went in, and to be honest, 15 years later I still get excited to watch this clip.
#1 - 2005 Masters at Augusta
This shot has the whole package. Biggest golf tournament in the world, incredibly difficult shot, awesome call from the announcers and an awkward high five. Can you ask for anything more?
Tiger has had a lot of other great shots, many without video evidence. Can you think of any that I missed? Let me know in the comments!