How has the absence of fans impacted golf?
The maxim surrounding fans being a significant attribute to golf holds true. Some extreme analysts might even claim that spectators are greater than the game itself. After all, authoritative bodies, management personnel, and the players all lose a pillar of interest, if not for the fans.
In light of things surrounding the predicament of the new decade, courses are mostly bereft of spectators. While this might not directly affect the players’ performances (or does it?), there is more than meets the untrained eye. The lack of fans creates the kind of atmosphere that leads to unpredictable results – an interesting development for those who bet on golf. Here is how fans, or the lack thereof, has impacted golf.
No adrenaline to feed off
One of the important attributes in players, especially modern-day golfers, is the fact that they exercise stress on charisma. Keeping the crowds entertained is an imperative aspect of the average golfer’s repertoire now. After all, it serves more than just a symbiotic relationship.
It is a known fact that golfers feed off the sheer adrenaline that the fans and spectators tend to exude. One might take into consideration when Matthew Wolff was in a three-shot lead at the 2020 US Open, with 21 holes left, but no one was there to acknowledge this feat. No golfer with such sheer talent deserves to perform without spectators at arm’s length.
While there is an aspect of the psyche (stated below), the sheer concept of adrenaline is marginally different. The psychological aspect makes or breaks the player, the adrenaline aspect accentuates it.
A game of psychology
There is a psychological aspect attached to this too, with an intimate correlation between golfers and fanbases. Tiger Woods has always shown exponentially better performance when in presence of a huge crowd, and so have players like Rory McIlroy.
When an audience is present, the timid player might be rattled, but not the immaculate one. After all, the sheer adrenaline is enough to boost the psyche.
Just like the ardent golf tipster’s psyche is positively affected once they get their predictions right in the local betting booth, or the football manager gets a stadium full of cheers after making the right substitution, the golfer’s performance and psyche are boosted too.
Lost balls, lost cause
Moving on to more pragmatic causes, it is a known fact that audience members are majorly helpful in recovering lost balls, especially foul balls.
When the illustrious golfer strikes the ball, there is a large number of fans present in the landing area near the fairway, waiting for the ball to land. Such spectators are essential in locating the ball.
How does this affect the game? The answer here is simple, and does not require one to have the analytical acumen of individuals who post commentaries on golf. The said player is bound to compartmentalize their focus on ensuring that the balls are hit with more intent and caution, rather than purpose. This equates to shots that might not be as ambitious as it could have been in the presence of an audience.
With the reduction of search times from five to three minutes, this only means that a certain aspect of the player’s and the marshal’s energy would be to ensure that the said rule is not violated —something that could be bypassed if an audience was present.
The lack of grandstands has yet another impact—monetary. After all, this simply equates to less money being poured to the scores of non-profits supported by golf events, especially those who count on the USGA. Safe to state, that as long as there is no audience, golf will not be the same.