The Decision of Nike Does Not Mean that Golf is Dead

All around the sports talk/blog landscape, I hear people saying that Nike’s decision to stop making golf equipment, means that the sport is in the decline. This common opinion is inaccurate. For one, the game of golf presents great longevity. While it has its issues (expensive cost, elitist persona, time consuming) and it may struggle to bring in young players, it has a cycle. It is arguably the only sport (except tennis) that can be played at a very high level by older people. Once people start working and making money, they tend to flock to golf and are hooked by it (and frustrated). This cycle of picking up the sport of golf, should not cease anytime soon. And on to the argument how about without Tiger, nobody watches golf. Yes, Tiger puts golf into the common sport conversation, and everybody would love for him to return. However, the narrative that nobody watches golf without him playing is simply untrue. Last month, Golf Channel received the most viewers in a month that they have ever had, and their viewing numbers have steadily increased since the beginning of 2016 (all without Tiger in the picture). Let’s move on to the position that Golf doesn’t have any stars anymore. What better way to evaluate this then by looking at social media (and the social presence of some of golf’s biggest “stars”). At just the tender age of 23, Jordan Spieth has 1.4 million followers on Twitter. On the same platform, Rickie Fowler has 1.25 mil, Bubba Watson has 1.7 mil, and Rory Mcilroy has just over 3 million followers. Let’s compare this to baseball. How are baseball’s biggest stars? Mike Trout, Clayton Kershaw, Bryce Harper, Jake Arrieta, Miguel Cabrera? Respectively on Twitter they have: 1.97 mil, 319k, 655k, 264k and 788k followers. Chill out a bit on saying that common people don’t know or care about golfers in the non-Tiger Woods era. Lastly, I will focus on Nike’s decision to stop making golf equipment. I don’t think that this is a big deal, and it will actually lead to the viewer seeing more players rocking Nike gear on Sundays. The common golfer really didn’t use nike clubs or equipment, as people tend to use equipment made by golf specific companies (Taylormade, Titleist, Cobra, etc). However the common golfer does frequently wear Nike apparel (hats, shoes, shirts, etc). I think this decision speaks more to the fact that Nike has seen how successful Under Armour has been in the golf space while dealing 100% with apparel. They hit the jackpot with Jordan Speith, and have invested in up and coming golfers such as Gary Woodland and Matthew Fitzpatrick. I believe Nike will have more success in attracting new clients (in addition to Rory Mcilroy, Brooks Koepka, Tony Finau, etc) because of the fact that they can make a pitch in which they can allow perspective golfers to use whichever clubs they want (non-Nike). This new flexibility does not mean that the popularity of golf will fall off of a cliff. Golf is going nowhere.

p19

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