On Politics and Putting Two of the most surprising news makers of the past month have been apparent presidential candidate Donald Trump and the formerly maligned and newly popular long putter. According to The New York Times, when asked about his opinions on same-sex marriage on Monday, the Trumpster (an avid golfer) managed to make those two worlds collide with a decidedly mixed metaphor:
“It’s like in golf,” he said. “A lot of people—I don’t want this to sound trivial—but a lot of people are switching to these really long putters, very unattractive,” said Mr. Trump, a Republican. “It’s weird. You see these great players with these really long putters, because they can’t sink three-footers anymore. And, I hate it. I am a traditionalist. I have so many fabulous friends who happen to be gay, but I am a traditionalist.”
A note to Mr. Trump: If you have to use the phrase "I don't want this to sound trivial," you're probably about to say something that sounds trivial. The Great Golf Recession It's no secret that recreational golf has been on the decline over the past few years, and if you feel like you're seeing fewer and fewer people teeing it up every weekend, according to the National Golf Foundation, you're not imagining things.
The number of golfers fell slightly in 2010 to 26.1 million, down 3.6% from the 27.1 million recorded in 2009, according to NGF’s annual golf participation study. That marks the third consecutive year of declines in both measures, not surprising, considering the severity of the economic recession that has affected consumer behavior during the period.
Similar decreases were seen in both the Core and Occasional golfer categories. Core golfers (age 6+, eight or more rounds a year) fell 3.6%, from 15.3 million to 14.8 million. Occasional golfers (age 6+, one to seven rounds a year) dropped 3.7%, from 11.8 million to 11.3 million.
Obviously it's hard to spin this as good news, but there is a bit of a silver lining:
It was encouraging news that the number of golfers gained in 2010 held steady vs. previous years while the number of lost golfers dropped significantly.
So all in all, probably about what you'd expect. Golf has held up relatively well considering the drastic downturn, but it's likely to be a long time (if ever) before it returns to the its heights. Gainey Too Hot to Stop On a tour where players routinely take off tournaments to stay fresh, NBC's Ryan Ballengee says Tommy "Two Gloves" Gainey (who is already over the $1 million mark for the year) has an interesting explanation for why he's not taking events off anytime soon: Fear.
“I’m kind of afraid that while I’m on a hot streak, why take a week off?” he asked.
Assessing the schedule over the month of May, including The Players, the Texas Swing: Part Deux and the Memorial, Gainey has plenty of reason to play.
“That is five class golf tournaments in a row to play in, and I definitely want to be a part of all five.”
Gainey attributes his hot play of late to big improvements in his short game – making 10-footers that give him confidence and a gateway to a paycheck. He’s just happened to have several substantial ones in recent weeks.
Gainey is exactly the sort of player who can take advantage of playing every tournament (at least at this point in his career). When the big guns take a week off, it's guys like him that are standing there, holding the big checks. Tweet of the Day This is from Justin Rose, but I think we're going to have to count it as back-to-back tweets of the day from Brad Faxon: