Wednesday, May 30, 2012

Golf is a Sport

The age old debate over whether golf is a sport... I can see both sides of the coin on this one, but lets take a look at why golf should be considered a sport...

8.  Fat Linemen.  If you're going to discount golf as a sport because players like John Daly (the fat version), Tim Herron, and Craig Stadler don't have chiseled bodies, then I'll present to you the image of the 340 pound offensive lineman with 60 pounds of flab hanging over his gut.  Technically, all they do is stand up and try to get in somebody's way.  Carl Lewis, they're not.  I know there's much more involved in being a lineman, especially with footwork.  Hey, fat guys can be athletes, too.  Don't diss golfers just because they like cheeseburgers and beer.

7.  Stationary sports.  Golf also takes a hit because there isn't any running involved.  Following that logic, are we to assume that track and field events such as shot put and javelin aren't sports?  What about diving?  All you've got to do is fall forward.  And really, is a pitcher moving any more than a golfer?

6.  Endurance.  If you think playing golf is a leisurely activity, try walking 18 holes on a hilly course on a humid 93 degree day.  Then do it for six straight days, including practice rounds and pro-ams.  The pros do it routinely during the summer.  Just like other sports, the endurance factor is huge in golf.  If you can't handle the hills and heat, you'll be a goner.  I'm guessing 95 percent of those fat linemen wouldn't make it through nine holes.

5.  It's difficult.  If golf isn't a sport, then how come the best athletes in the world can't master it?  Jerry Rice might have been the best football player ever, yet he shot a round in the 90s when he tried to tee it up on the Nationwide Tour.  Michael Jordan only dreams of being a professional golfer.  Yes, golf is a hard sport.

4.  Steroids.  Sadly, if you can take steroids to improve your performance, then you're a sport.  Golf falls under that category.  Golf was way behind the curve on this, but officials finally did institute testing for performance enhancing drugs.  Just like sports such as baseball and football, golf reacted to curb a potential problem.

3.  Physical toll.  Golf actually is a dangerous sport for players at the highest level.  The golf swing is a highly unnatural move, and years of pounding usually finds most players on the operating table at some point.  Tiger Woods already has had four knee surgeries.  Bill Glasson has had more than 20 surgeries on his knees, elbows and back.  If you're not getting operated on, chances are you back feels as if you've been in 40 accidents.  That's in a week, not a life.  Play the sport of golf at your own risk.

2.  Strength, flexibility, coordination.  Like every other sport, you need strength, flexibility, and superb hand eye coordination to play golf.  Even when John Daly was fat, he had incredible flexibility that allowed him to wrap the club around his neck.  Just ask Tiger Woods if it helps to be strong in golf.  His success had a bevy of other players following him to the weight room.  The ball may be stationary, but to get it to draw over that tree or to make it land like a feather to that tight pin over a bunker, you need hand eye coordination that is off the charts.  Strength, flexibility, coordination: Yep, sounds like a sport to me.

1.  Competitive edge.  Just like the other sports, the mental aspect is huge in golf.  The player who can think his way around the course, who can handle and overcome adversity, who can stare down an opponent, who can will the putt in the hole with everything on the line, always will reign supreme in golf.  Michael Jordan had it in his sport.  Tiger Woods has it in his sport.