Golf Monthly Editor's Letter July 2014 Issue
Editor’s Letter July 2014 Issue
So, did you miss him or not? That’s Tiger at The Masters of course. If you did, then you were not alone.
For me, the traditional curtain-raiser to the season lacked its usual punch, and the biggest reason for that by far was the absence of the man who has dominated the tournament since he blew away the field to win by 12 shots in 1997.
In the ensuing 16 years, Tiger has rarely been anything other than centre-stage at Augusta.
This, combined with the tournament’s unique charm, has always made it compelling viewing, and although I did still rack up some serious sofa time over the four days this time round, there was a very real sense that something was missing.
Although I’ve never been a huge Tiger fan – though always an admirer of the way he plays the game – I’ve never doubted his importance to golf.
He adds an edge to proceedings that no other player can currently deliver, and the clearest indicator of the role Tiger plays was underlined by a significant drop in TV audiences for this year’s Masters.
Admittedly, we did get to see a wider cast than usual as a result, but it was undoubtedly missing its leading light.
In a special feature on pages 65-70, Gavin Newsham and Alex Narey look at the impact Tiger has had on the game.
After reading the article, it’s safe to say that I now realise his impact has been even deeper and wider than I had imagined. I’m sure all golf fans will be hoping he is back in action sooner rather than later.
Away from the elite game, I have noticed a real focus this year on the topic of how to grow the game. From articles in the golfing media to discussions over a post-round pint, the belief that the game needs to change in order to halt a severe decline is gathering serious momentum.
I know I have written about the subject already this year, but I make no apologies for returning to it, because until the game starts generating solutions to reverse the trend, I believe the matter remains worthy of everyone’s attention.
Many ideas have been put forth as to how to tackle the issues, but one that has caught my eye recently is the launch of the ‘Campaign for REAL Golf’, with which I believe the Golf Monthly readership will have the most affinity.
The campaign states that its aim is to “revive the original values of golf and encourage today’s players, clubs and administrators to develop a better game to hand on to the next generation.”
The REAL acronym stands for Recreational, Enjoyable, Affordable and Less time-consuming. There can be few who wouldn’t agree the game is at its best when those four principles come to the fore.
One of the driving forces behind the Campaign for REAL Golf was Nick Park. It’s a name with which longstanding readers of the magazine may well be familiar.
A stalwart club golfer with a great interest in, and knowledge of, golf courses and agronomy, Nick wrote many pieces on course matters for Golf Monthly over the years.
I got to know Nick well, and his passion for the game was apparent within minutes of our first meeting. Sadly, Nick passed away recently, but in the Campaign for REAL Golf, his ideas for – and vision of – a better game for all lives on.
The campaign is looking for feedback and ideas from golfers like you and me so I’d urge you to visit realgolfcampaign.org to share your views.