Every Tuesday at 11:30 I go on the BMitch and Finlay radio show in Washington DC. This week I went on 5 minutes after it was officially announced that Tiger would play in this year's Masters. So instead of going on and talking about Dan Snyder or the Caps, we talked about Tiger. And it went great, because I am your stereotypical casual golf fan, and I see absolutely nothing wrong with it.
I like golf. When I lived in DC I started playing and I enjoyed it, albeit being terrible at it (golf is hard!). It's nice to get outside, hit some balls, get some sun, get drunk, and every so often hit a nice tee shot. When it comes to following it, I will watch the final round on a Sunday while lounging on my couch, but I don't pay attention to the ins and outs of the tour. Like, I couldn't tell ya how Charl Schwartzel has been hitting his driver recently. And I think the ForePlay boys do a great job introducing the casual fan like me to other personalities like Kizner and Harry Higgs. But for some reason, golf hardos HATE that. They HATE casuals like me who follow golf casually on Twitter. So needless to say I am not a hardcore golf fan…unless Tiger is playing.
When Tiger is in the mix, my eyes are glued to the screen. He is not only a once in a lifetime talent, but he has that Michael Jordan quality about him where you are drawn to him. He has a special type of aura about him. He makes your mom care about golf. You could have no idea the difference between a putter or a driver but you will watch Tiger Woods when he's on TV.
But for some reason, there's this sect of golf fans who need to gatekeep the sport from people like me. Like this guy:
Oh give me a break, dude. He literally in that tweet said TIGER WOODS IS BAD FOR GOLF!!!!!! He's the guy who doesn't want his favorite band to play arenas. Absolutely preposterous way of thinking. He doesn't want you watching golf if you can't talk about how Rory is chipping with his wedges in 62 degree weather with a 6 MPH wind from the Northwest.
Here's a great comparison- before Conor McGregor, I barely watched UFC. Now I watch basically every UFC PPV. He (and Bob Fox) got me into the sport. And the same is obviously true for golf with Tiger. How many current golf fans would still be golf fans if Tiger never played? The sport, and ALL SPORTS, are simply better when there's a phenom. It's how sports work. It's how they grow.
I find nothing wrong with being a casual fan of anything. I love when all the casual fans get hardcore in to the NHL playoffs. It makes it more fun for me when people are finally tweeting about hockey. You don't have to watch every game of the college basketball season, but following stories like Saint Peter's in March Madness is so much fun. Shit, we fall in love with a new gymnast and a new swimmer every 4 years at the Olympics. When Michael Phelps swims, you watch. When Tiger plays golf, you watch.
So don't be ashamed that you don't follow golf day in and day out. There's only so much time in the day, you have to prioritize. And if someone tries to shame you for liking "their" sport, tell them to eat your entire ass.
PS: When I met Tiger in Vegas a few years back he was genuinely such a cool guy. We chatted for like 5-10 minutes, nothing deep, but Phil Hellmuth introduced me as "Nate from Barstool" and I asked if he knew what Barstool was and he said "how could I not?". It was very cool.