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Golf's Golden Era
 
 
 
 
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During the era of Palmer, Nicklaus and Player (1960s), television coverage was limited and very unsophisticated.  Back then, only a few of the finishing holes had live televised coverage.  Viewers had to wait patiently for their favorite players to play those final holes in order to see them.  Mobile coverage at that time was non existent, so every player received about the same amount of television exposure on a weekly basis.  The Superstars of that era were genuine, not manufactured by the media.  

In those days, golf enthusiasts were treated to a wide diversity of golf personalities:  Sam Snead, with his trademark straw hat, wide smile and tight purse-strings.  Chi Chi Rodriguez and his bullfighting routine.  Doug Sanders with his flamboyant outfits (he once owned 358 pairs of golf shoes).  There was Tommy Bolt, known for his fiery temper, who once remarked to a fan "Never throw a club behind you, throw it in the direction of your ball, you don't want to slow down play."  "Champagne Tony Lema" supplied champagne to the entire press corp every time he won a tour event (he ronically died in a plane crash on a golf course).  There was Lee Trevino, who threw a rubber snake at Jack Nicklaus while they were both on the first tee of an 18 hole playoff for the US. Open Championship.  Fuzzy Zoeler, who used a towel to wipe the brow of Greg Norman prior to a Norman victory.  Arnie and his Army, Gary Player the man in black, and the Golden Bear, Jack Nicklaus. 

Televised golf in those days, was exciting and fun to watch.  Many Pros in that era were like living cartoon characters and could very well have starred in a Walt Disney animated feature.  Back then, they used their cars to get from one event to another, sometimes sleeping in the back seat because they couldn't afford a motel room.  They didn't travel on privat jets or stay in exclusive resorts.  Why would anyone live that sort of life if they were not passionate about their dreams?  Their desire to win and their level of play was as good, if not better than today's players.  Most of them played for the love of the game, everything else came second.   

Keep in mind, that in that era transistor radios were a relatively new invention, color TV was still being perfected, milkmen were still making home deliveries and doctors still made housecalls.  All the investment advisers were telling their clients to "invest in plastic, it's the wave of the future."  The game of golf was being transformed into an international sport, inspired by a man from Latrobe, Pennsylvania named Arnold Palmer.  Noone knew just how much of an impact "Arnies Army" would have on golf.  As it turned out, televised coverage of PGA Tournaments would raise interest in the sport to new levels and professional golf would turn into a "money machine." 

Today, the PGA Tour has turned into a cash cow for players and corporate sponsors alike.  Its big money that rules.  Players have become robot-like and stiff.  If most of them submitted themselves to x-rays, you would probably find a picture of wires, nuts and bolts.  There is no doubt about their abilities, as most are truly great players but other than that, "where's the meat and potatoes?"  They all seem to be clones of one another.  During interviews, they speak like experienced politicians, never saying anything significant, being carefull not to rock the sponsor's boat.  Gone are the days of an Arnold Palmer crying in front of a microphone (during his last US. Open appearance at Oakmont C.C.) or Jack Nicklaus' tearful interview after his last Open.

Golf fans everywhere have been dumbed-down by corporate America into believing that the PGA Tour and it's coverage, is good entertainment.  I don't know about you but I'm tired of watching tournaments where wall to wall coverage of specific players is the order of the day. I've had it with all the fist pumps, contorted facial expressions and the color red in the final round!  What we need is flesh and blood, not nuts and bolts.  We need players that look and act like humanoids, who joke with the crowd and give a few autographs between holes, as they did in the Golden Era. The game will be better off and so will every spectator who cares enough about golf to keep watching. 

As for me?  Until things change, I'll keep watching the Champions tour.

by Gary J. Zalimeni

 
 
 
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sudipto Mukherjee
     
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Tuesday , Oct27, 2009
 

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Can I have more details......
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Joe Biden
     
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Monday , Oct26, 2009
 

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Yes, it make sense!...
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