17 Apr 2024

Korda Picks Up The Baton From Tiger

In the history of professional golf, fan growth has flourished when a dominant player stands above the rest, even capturing the fascination of those outside the golfing world.

First, we had the dawn of the King, Arnold Palmer, who become known as the People’s Champion. He handed the baton to Jack Nicklaus, but it took a while for next standard bearer to arrive, but it was worth the wait. Tiger Woods took the game to the next level and regardless of limited schedule and injuries he remains one of the biggest crowd pullers and that is where the problem lies.

This year’s Masters Sunday TV viewing figures fall under 10 million and that was with DecChambeau, Homa and Scheffler contesting at the top of the leaderboard. Regardless, it was still 20% lower than 2023 and 50% lower than when Tiger won in 1997. If you were to exclude COVID this is the first time the Masters Tournament’s viewing figures were below 10 million.

The issue being no one has followed on from Arnold, Jack and Tiger. McIlroy looked to be the obvious heir to the throne, but his lack of Major success in the past decade has meant it’s slipped out if his grasp.

Thankfully there is a dominant figure that is attracting ‘Tigerlike’ views, but this person was not at The Masters last week, more than likely she was watching on TV like many of us at home. Yes, Nelly Korda is the star in question. Her record fourth straight win over Maguire at the T-Mobile Women’s Match Play the week prior to the Masters received close to 20 million views.

She’s thrilling to watch and inspiration to so many youngsters, but another contributing factor is there are no LIV Golf or PGA TOUR side line stories going on to detract from her dominance.

Fans just want to watch golf at the highest level and all this talk of hundreds of millions being handed over to millionaire players during challenging economic times for many of us is having a negative effect on the sport.

Thank goodness for the LPGA and Nelly Korda for showing the powers that be, exactly what the fans are crying out for.

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