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The Rise of Golf and Millennials

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Two years ago, the golf industry was rocked with articles stating how the sport wasn’t popular among millennials. After they came out in mid 2014, people speculated that golf was on a decline for various reasons. Outdated, too expensive or too stuffy were only a few reasons listed to why the sport was making it ways out. Yet, as the years since passed, it seems that people jumped the gun. In this current time, many of the world’s best and upcoming golf professionals are millennials.

Jordan Spieth is a 22 year old professional golfer who is ranked No 1 in the world. He is the youngest player to ever win five times in a single season. The last time this occurred was in 1929 when a 21 year old golfer took the elusive title from golfers older than him. As Spieth was set to play over the weekend in the AT&T Pebble Beach Pro-Am tournament, people buzzed about his accomplishments and where he might place.

To drive a buzz about his achievements, the eight thousand attendants of the tournament received Spieth bobbleheads. For those who were not in attendance, they were not left out of the celebrations. AT&T developed numerous comedy videos that started the Spieth bobblehead and put online for everyone to see. Such marketing tactics seem odd for the sport, but it played a small part in a bigger plan to draw the interest of younger golfers.

Ryan Luckey, the assistant vice president of corporate sponsorships for AT&T, spoke to CNBC saying the following, “The PGA Tour is certainly looking to grow their fan base, and we’re seeking to grow our millennial consumer base.”
Back in 2013, up to two hundred thousand millennials are have said to have left the sport. Since then, interest in the sport has been on rise due to the change in marketing and the amount of golf superstars that are millennials. The PGA has seen a 43 percent rise in it’s website traffic and Twitter increased by 39%. 6.5 million millennials are playing golf, which is around 30% of all golfers worldwide.

As a way to get more and more people interested in picking up the club’s, various marketing teams have aimed to change their tactics to please the younger generation. By finding ways that capture millennials interests, there should be a direct correlation in the upward trajectory of more millennial golfers.

As for Jordan Spieth at the AT&T Pebble Beach Tournament? Well, it wasn’t his finest weekend as he placed outside of the top 20. The bigger winner was middle aged Vaughn Taylor.

Happy Birthday Tiger Woods!

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The professional golfer turns forty today! He decided to celebrate the day despite the lingering questions about his future career that have been circulating the professional circuit recently.  No one has doubted that Woods has been one of the greatest players of all time, but they do wonder if that spark will ever return to the now middle aged player.

Tiger Woods was once ranked at the number one golfer in the world for around seven hundred weeks. Now, the golfer ranks at number four hundred and fourteen – which is quite the drop. He has not won a major since 2008, and a tournament since 2013. It’s hard to picture that he was once the golfer who won the Master by twelve strokes in 1997. However, in the past couple years, Woods has been plagued by numerous injuries, because of which he has to have various back and knee surgeries. As a result of these surgeries, Wood has moved to a new swing – which he has struggled with.

Besides injuries, Tiger has had to deal with the fall out of his marriage for the past several years. In 2009, Woods dealt with a cheating scandal that rocked the mainstream media and the golf world in a way it had never seen before. He addressed the scandal in an interview with Time magazine recently, along with the idea that “he has reconciled himself to not playing again if it came to that”.  However, that was a vastly different tune then to the PGA Tour blog, where he mentioned how excited he was for a return in 2016.

The golf world has noted that it would be a different feel if he was no longer apart of it. After all, the golfer has broken and held many different records, and changed the face of golf for many Americans.

Speaking to VOA News, Kuan Koa – a commentator for Golf Channel, said ““For us, we’ve been seeing him since he turned pro in 1997, won the Master’s at a very young age of 21. He had really brought the game across the globe pretty much because he’s a mixed race, and a lot of people can associate with him.  I think a lot of Asian people see him as Asian,  African-Americans see him as African-American.  Basically he was such a young prodigy, he brought the game of golf to the young crowd.”

For many, the return of Woods is an exciting idea. We can only wait and see what 2016 will hold for the golfer. In the meantime, once again, Happy Birthday Tiger Woods!