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Wednesday, June 19, 2024
<p>Sergio Garcia, of Spain, reacts after making his birdie putt on the 18th green to win the Masters golf tournament after a playoff Sunday, April 9, 2017, in Augusta, Ga. (AP Photo/David Goldman)</p>

Sergio Garcia, of Spain, reacts after making his birdie putt on the 18th green to win the Masters golf tournament after a playoff Sunday, April 9, 2017, in Augusta, Ga. (AP Photo/David Goldman)

The Masters, golf’s first major tournament of the year, ended on Sunday. And while Sergio Garcia won, all of us lost.

We lost because those of us who have watched or played golf have been suckered into the biggest con of the sports industry. Golf is a scam.

Nowadays, golf exits to funnel millions of dollars from unsuspecting fans to apparel companies — the Nikes, the Under Armours, the Callaways of the world.

The Masters was impossible to miss over the weekend. It dominated coverage over the NBA, MLB and other major sports. And there’s still three more major tournaments this year. It makes me question why there’s so much coverage for a game with such a small niche audience.

Nobody really wants to watch golf. So why does the media constantly cover the world’s most boring sport? It's because the tournaments on TV seduce us into playing golf.

You see the lush greenery on TV, and you think to yourself, “Hey, that looks fun. I should play golf!”

Don’t you dare follow through with that idea.

Golf has a laughably unattainable learning curve. Since you haven't been the beneficiary of hundreds of dollars spent on golf lessons growing up, you will: A) miss the ball B) shank the ball into the nearest body of water C) hit a great shot, and then curse yourself out when you screw it up on the next shot.

But if you’re undeterred and still want to play, you’ll get gobsmacked by the next ridiculous barrier to entry: the price to tee it up.

It’s irrationally expensive.

Want to play basketball? Buy a ball and go to a court. Soccer? Buy a ball and go to a field.

Golf? Spend hundreds on equipment (good luck finding a useful set of clubs for under $400). Spend hundreds on clothes (since golf attire demands polo shirts, slacks and shoes). And break the bank again for a country club membership, so you can schmooze with stuffy stiffs who act like plantation owners.

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Or maybe your city has a public golf course, where you can pay $60 for the privilege of getting a sunburn while you wait for your coffin-on-wheels golf cart to break down on the sixth hole.

This is my plea: Don’t play golf. While out-of-shape old guys on TV make it look easy, you’re going to be unfathomably frustrated when you inevitably fail.

Those tournaments are fake anyway. It’s just Tiger Woods and Happy Gilmore pulling strings behind the scenes. Nike and friends want you to think: "Oh, if only I had that new putter and with a little practice, I could be on the PGA Tour!"

Trust me. You don’t want to play golf. What you’re looking for is miniature golf. All the stress of a real round but without the cost of community college tuition.

As one of my roommates put it while watching the Masters: “This really wants to make me go play golf, and that’s awful.”

Matt Brannon is the assistant sports editor. His columns appear on Mondays. Follow him on Twitter @MattB_727 and contact him at mbrannon@alligator.org.

Sergio Garcia, of Spain, reacts after making his birdie putt on the 18th green to win the Masters golf tournament after a playoff Sunday, April 9, 2017, in Augusta, Ga. (AP Photo/David Goldman)

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