Love them or hate them.
The end of the football season and the debate heats up – the teams America loves to hate. Unless you are a die-hard fan for teams like New England, Alabama, Golden State, Dallas Cowboys, Notre Dame and I’m sure there are many more, you hate them. Fans love to hate them because of success. They win and win and win. They make it to the championship game or knock on the door of the championship game, it seems like every year. But this love hate debate is good for the sport and the TV ratings.
Now let’s cross over to the love hate debate in our game – golf. I know there are no teams in golf except for Ryder Cup, President’s Cup and the Solheim Cup. But there is a love hate for individual golfers. Jack Nicklaus, Colin Montgomery, Ben Hogan, Tiger Wood, Johnny Miller, John Daly, Ian Poulter and the list goes on. Why the diverse emotions? Success! Each outlined golfer was successful in their select time frames on the tours but the relationship with fans was divided.
The famous Arnie’s Army rude tactics at the US Open when he played Jack Nicklaus head up the first time. Boo’s, jeering, moving during his swing anything to help Arnie and distract Jack. Fans teasing Colin Montgomery at a US Open got so bad that Payton Stewart stopped and scolded the crowd. Who can forget the time when Sergio had the habit of redoing his grip constantly before taking the swing and the fans starting to chant – “One – Two – Three – Four…”
It’s rude and not in the description of the gentleman’s game. But it creates good TV, competitiveness and debate. My opinion is part of it is jealousy. The true fans of Alabama, New England, Jack Nicklaus, Ian Poulter smile and even giggle when non-fans yell cheaters, distractions and even vulgarities. Do I want the University of Houston to be a dynasty in football – you betcha! Why do you think the Coogs despise the Horns and Aggies – their success! We want some of that.
Onward through the fog. The debate over dynasties in sports, athletes consider the greatest of all time (GOAT) and America’s team will continue and that is great for the wide world of sports. Let’s just remember it is a sport and a gentleman’s game.