These Guys Aren’t So Good: The PGA Tour and golf itself needs a new mantra

        According to Golfweek magazine, a group of golf organizations have hired a high-profile lobbyist to buff the game’s image in Washington.  According to Golfweek’s Gene Yasuda, the PGA of America,

Golf has been fortunate that the conduct of its principals has largely matched its principles of honesty and self-regulation.

National Golf Course Owners Association, Golf Course Superintendents Association of America and Club Managers Association of America have contributed a total of $200,000 to engage the firm Podesta Group to change lawmaker perceptions that “associating with golf is somehow a bad thing,” according to a Podesta principal.

        The recent turn in golf’s reputation makes one nostalgic for the days when the game was mostly criticized for its mythical uniform -– white belts and shoes, lime green pants, etc.  These have been rough months for golf, especially for the PGA:  First Tiger Woods’ “accident” and then, this week, allegations by Scott McCarron that Phil Mickelson is a “cheater” because he is using a faux-legal square-grooved wedge in competition.  Mickelson’s rejoinder that the club is not illegal and that three other players are using it (out of more than 140 on tour) doesn’t exactly elevate the sport’s honorable image, nor does the ungentlemanly dust-up between the tour’s #2 player and a journeyman.

        Golf has been fortunate that the conduct of its principals has largely

Just three tour players, Mickelson included, use a faux-legal square groove club.

matched its principles of honesty and self-regulation.  But Tiger’s wayward behavior, Phil’s taking advantage of a loophole, and the serial embarrassments of John Daly argue that the game’s marketing focus should shift away from its stars (unless it could figure out a way to make players like Jim Furyk and Stewart Cink interesting, which it can't).

        The PGA Tour’s formerly clever ad line, “These Guys Are Good,” rings hollow; and with the disclosures about Woods, it is filled with unfortunate double entendres.  Better the tour should start intensify its inconsisten emphasis on its contributions to charities.  Perhaps start with a campaign under the banner “These Guys Do Good.”


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