Another first time winner on the PGA TOUR. Another millennial etched into the history books. Generation Y has reclaimed the PGA TOUR and it couldn’t be at a better time to stop the bleeding of falling TV ratings.
It doesn’t seem that long since Jim Furyk, Ernie Els, Phil Mickelson, Angel Cabrera and Steve Stricker dominated news headlines. They were dark times in golf, at least for my generation. Seeing ageing men with porky bellies on my TV set just wasn’t that fun.
For the first time since Tiger Woods burst onto the scene in 1996, golf is experiencing a renaissance, and it’s even better than before. Jordan Spieth and Rory McIlroy have saved golf in more ways than one. Not only have they lifted the sport to new highs – as witnessed in the past four major championships – they have sent positive shockwaves through Generation Y and Generation Z.
Millennials are the future of golf, and while the likes of Furyk, Els, and Stricker evidently failed to inspire them to take up the game, the new crop of Generation Y golfers on the PGA TOUR is doing the opposite.
Rickie Fowler and Troy Merritt’s battle on Sunday at a relatively insignificant golf tournament was still riveting television. No longer are young audiences turned off by old, ageing men in clothes too baggy for them. They are watching titans tee it up and battle it out to the death. Their idols are fit, athletic and well-dressed. We actually aspire to be them.
Viewing figures for the major championships this year have been the most impressive since Tiger Woods last won a major championship in 2008.
It isn’t just the likes of Spieth, McIlroy and Fowler who are making Generation Y tune in. Millennial players like Dustin Johnson and Jason Day have contended in all of the major championships this year. An unknown amateur from Ireland – Paul Dunne – was leading the Open Championship after 54 holes.
Generation X was boring. They created an aloof barrier between themselves and fans. Generation Y – heavily influenced through social media – are more accessible. Rickie Fowler posts photos of his life almost every day across Twitter and Instagram. More and more golfers in this generation have opened up their doors and allowed fans to get an insight into their lives.
Can you imagine Phil Mickelson or Jim Furyk creating a social conversation with a fan over the internet. Heck no.
Genration X is dying off, and thank god. Millennials have reclaimed the PGA TOUR and the next decade looks bright.