Jan 11th, 2018
Golf is boring – it's official
And so is football apparently...
Words: Tim Southwell Styling: GolfPunk
Damn it all... we've been trying to pretend for years but now the jig is up. Golf has been officially declared the world's most boring sport.
A YouGov survey has declared that, out of all the sports you can watch on TV, golf is the 'least exciting'. Actually, the survey doesn't muck about with niceties, declaring that golf is actually 'the most boring sport invented': More boring to watch than swimming, snooker, even gymnastics...
Nearly 75% of Britons polled in the survey had golf sitting proudly at the pinnacle of the goggle box's sporting nonentities. And what was deemed the most exciting sport to watch? Athletics. Yes, that's not a typo.
Athletics. You know, those fellas and ladies with the mad staring eyes all pumped-up on muscle-racket who we suddenly take an accidental and very brief interest in every couple of years at an Olympics or World Championships. Athletics.
Golf is not perfect, that is for sure, and there are times when I'm praying someone will take a cattle prod to certain players who seem to equate the playing of a golf shot with the time one might take to read War & Peace from start to finish.
Clearly we need new exciting formats like Golf Sixes to engage the YouGov naysayers, and the European Tour for their part are making an effort on that front. And yet, out of the 75% of people in the UK who had watched the sport and said it was "boring", 52% described it as "very boring."
It would be interesting to see what the results would have been like if the poll was taken shortly after a Ryder Cup. Of course, not every golf event is as enthralling as the Ryder Cup. The dominance of stroke play tournaments means we often have a Sunday procession when we're all crying out for a back nine dust up a la Mickelson/Stenson at The Open 2016.
We do get 'must-watch' finales in stroke play events and us golfers, who know how incredibly difficult the sport is, gasp in awe as these golfing superstars perform utter miracles under the most intense pressure. But for people who don't play, they don't get that, and how could you? New formats and more matchplay events are definitely needed. It won't gurantee a mass shift in perception but as long as the process is evolving then we're going in the right direction.
When it's like this, golf is pretty much unbeatable for spectator excitement, it's just that the drama comes in bursts and you have to stay with it. It's not a sport for people with unusual foreheads and short attention spans.
Watch Tiger Woods striving to become the least interesting sportsperson on the planet...
78% of women reported finding golf boring compared with 63% of men. I'm not sure what to do with that statistic other than make the reasonable assumption that the people polled were residents of an old people's home for retired gymnasts & shot putters, off their tits on quaaludes.
And it's not just golf that gets it in the neck. Not only have these people taken a swipe at our great game, they've also decided that tennis, gymnastics and athletics are more exciting to watch than football. Seriously.
Keith Pelley, Chief Executive of the European Tour, responded to the poll by saying: “Totally disagree and our fan engagement in 2017 would also suggest otherwise. Last year, the European Tour saw large TV ratings increases, while our social engagement increased by 35%.
“All sports need to modernise, and we are leading the transformation of global golf with our players being some of the world’s largest sports personalities. If the poll was accurate, we would not be as successful and able to grow our business as we are doing today.”
Some moments of genuine tedium from the golf archives...
One morsel of comfort is that the YouGov survey seems to suggest that Britons don't really like watching sport in the first place. Out of the 17 sports included in the poll, only five were classed as 'exciting' rather than 'boring'. Bake Off, on the other hand...
The results also proved divisive on social media, with one golf fan remarking that "we need to stop letting British people vote".
Ex-US President Theodore Roosevelt once famously said about voting: "A vote is like a rifle: its usefulness depends upon the character of the user". Too right, Teddy. In this case, the voters proved to be about as useful as a gaggle of chocolate fireguards.