Tuesday, April 12, 2011

Here's a Loaded Question for You!

All right, there's a neutral question I could ask you all stemming from my observations of the 1st 2 majors of 2011, the Kraft Nabisco Championship and the Masters: what conclusions can we draw from these 2 events about the state of women's and men's professional golf? But I'm actually more interested in your thoughts on the more loaded question: is men's professional golf deeper, better, and more exciting than women's professional golf?


Average Golfer said...

Men's golf is more interesting, for me at least. It's the Walter Mitty factor. I'd like to think I could make an NBA 3 pointer, or catch a TD pass from Tom Brady. Fact is I couldn't. But I can, rarely, hit a 290 yd. drive, stick a PW to 8 feet from 110, and make the putt. When I do I'd prefer to assume the persona of Adam Scott,(pre-broomstick), rather than Paula Creamer.

You asked.

Mike said...

That's not just a loaded question, TC -- it's one that requires a long answer! But I can make a few observations about differences between the two... and you know I'm a very vocal fan of the LPGA, so I'm not going to shortchange the women.

To be blunt, the women don't have quite the depth of men's golf. I don't mean that in terms of the number of good players who can win in a given week; rather, it's a question of generational depth.

Both tours have a lot of young (sub-30) players who can win and are fighting it out each week.

Both tours have one legendary player (30-40) who still challenges the field -- Karrie Webb and Tiger Woods. And right now, both are exciting but somewhat inconsistent.

But after that, the men move ahead. Let's just talk Top 10 members.

In the 30-40 bracket, the women have Cristie Kerr and Suzann Pettersen (barely) as regular challengers. The men have Lee Westwood, Luke Donald, Graeme McDowell, Paul Casey, and Matt Kuchar.

In the 40-50 bracket, the ladies' cupboard is bare. The men have Phil Mickelson (another legend) and Steve Stricker.

And if we leave the Top 10 and look at the over-50 set, the women have Juli Inkster. The men have Fred Couples and Bernhard Langer (or would have if he weren't out from thumb surgery). The men even have a 60+ member, Tom Watson, who didn't really contend at the Masters but will be taken seriously at the Open Championship!

So the men have a "broader demographic" of competitive players. And almost all of the Top 10 men have general name recognition, which the women don't. Both aspects are important when you're looking to reach a large audience.

Finally, while relatively unknown players won both majors, the KNC was basically a two-horse race while the Masters had 8 players slugging it out, each with a realistic chance to win.

Right now, I think you have to give the men the edge.

diane said...

Both major tournaments had exciting final round finishes, where the winner was in doubt until the last hole. On that basis, both tours are strong.

The writer of another blog suggested strength of tour was based on whether American's are winning majors. Two of the four LPGA majors are currently held by Americans compared to none for the PGA Tour. Advantage LPGA.

If depth of field is the sole argument, had the conditions in the desert been as good as they were at Augusta, I would assert there would have been more players in contention than the two who battled it out on the back nine. That being the case, despite Mike's well-reasoned response, I think it's a push at this point.

Hound Dog said...

You all know where my sentiments lie (www.hounddoglpga.com) but the men are certainly better players and the PGA Tour is much deeper for one single reason - many many more thousands of males around the world play golf than do women. Any entity which draws from a larger population (all other things being equal) is going to outclass one drawing from a smaller group, especially when that larger group is at least 10 times the size.

As for "more exciting", it depends on what excites you.

Awsi Dooger said...

The men's lot has considerably more depth, for the reasons cited by Hound Dog. In fact, the PGA could slice off the bottom half of the eligible list and replace with the equal number atop the Nationwide Tour and it wouldn't be a dramatic difference.

BTW, in prior years I've seen frequent irks that the LPGA is short shifted on magazine covers, etc. That didn't hold up last week. Golf World featured Stacy Lewis prominently in a full page cover photo after she won the Kraft. I didn't think that was guaranteed, particularly when Phil Mickelson won that weekend's PGA event with two great weekend rounds.

Mike said...

Diane, for what it's worth, I didn't say it was a big edge. ;-)