Ko and Spieth Against the World

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Lydia Ko, pictured here after winning the Canadian Women’s Open in Edmonton on Aug. 25, will join the LPGA Tour next year. (Jason Franson/Canadian Press)

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Jordan Spieth holds the trophy after winning the John Deere Classic on Sunday at TPC Deere Run in Silvis, Ill. (Charlie Neibergall/Associated Press)

The female and male darlings of golf are Lydia Ko and Jordan Speith. Both have fantastic starts to their career and seem to be well on their way to making a name for themselves as professional golfers. Ko just turned pro and has already won an event on the LPGA. Speith is also a one time winner with 2013 rookie of the year honors to boot. Both appear to have focused goals and positive personalities that the golf industry want to leverage.

There is no question the media are going crazy, the golfing world is talking about their successes and the sponsors are circling. But, is this really what golf is about? Don’t get me wrong, golf is a business and there is money to be made; however, at what cost. There are several players who were treated with the same awe and reverence in the past 10 years, but have disappeared completely or failed to meet the huge expectations of being a world ranked golfer. They were discarded like yesterday’s newspaper. Is to be the fate of Lydia Ko and Jordan Speith?

Expectations of professional or amateur golfers can be a positive influence or a destructive power. We do not have to look far to see the fickle nature of the sports media, golfing fans or professional pundits. Examples like Rory McIlroy playing so poorly in 2013 – how many times was he kicked; Tiger Woods stalled at 14 Majors…..stalled at 14 Majors – are you kidding; Phil Mickelson not winning the US Open is tarnishing his greatness … come on; and finally Henrik Stenson touted as one of the greatest golfers never to win a Major…wow! Is there a possibility that the expectations of some of the golfing greats is a little out of whack?

It is important to understand that expectations are relative. At every level, each golfer has expectations (realistic or unrealistic) about their capabilities. Those are easy to accept. What is difficult to swallow are the golfing analysts who pass judgement on players while sitting in their armchair in a climate controlled room. Is it possible, that golf has lost its way and some major re-tuning is required?

Golf is a great sport! We all have expectations, but let us not forget that golf is meant to be enjoyed.  Competition is healthy, fun and exciting. However, a ‘win or else’ competition seen at the professional level is not good for the game. What do you think?

I am a grateful golfer!  See you on the links!

5 thoughts on “Ko and Spieth Against the World

  1. Pingback: Ko and Spieth Against the World – Part 2 | The Grateful Golfer

  2. Jim, golf, like any other professional sport is all about winning. State your intention to win, and you will be judged in that capacity by media and fans. However, players like Steve Stricker and Bruce Lietzke, who have played reduced schedules and stated family is more important than the game seem to be given a pass by media and fans. Golf is unique because unlike most other sports you expect to win only 10-15% of your tournaments. If the pros come out and state that up front they would be held to lower expectations. Thanks. Brian

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