"Fans are losing interest in professional golf"

Finding common ground between two opposing sides is a very difficult task

by Andrea Gussoni
"Fans are losing interest in professional golf"
© Michael Reaves / Getty Images Sport

Finding common ground between two opposing sides is a very difficult task. Especially when players historically haven't "liked" each other, the challenge becomes even more daunting. But sometimes, things happen when you least expect them.

It's now recognized that players from all Tours have come to a realization that this stalemate situation is no longer sustainable. But from here, to reach a position fully shared by two "heavyweight" players within the two factions, who, moreover, have repeatedly clashed in the past, the road ahead is quite long.

Yet, it happened.

Bryson DeChambeau, results

In the past, Rory McIlroy and Bryson DeChambeau have often faced off verbally, albeit at a distance. In recent times, we've witnessed a coming together of their positions (specifically regarding the "return" of LIV players).

But now we've reached an almost total consensus of thought. Within a few days, first McIlroy and then DeChambeau, starting from different perspectives, arrived at the same conclusion: "Fans are losing interest in professional golf." The Northern Irish player speaks from within a PGA Tour that is experiencing a widespread decline in TV viewership this year (The Players has lost 9% of its share compared to last year and the Valspar Championship 27%, to name a few): "If you look at the TV ratings of the PGA Tour this year, they have experienced a 20% decline across the board.

That's one-fifth." "I would say that even the LIV Golf numbers are not satisfactory in terms of viewership." "I really believe that the strife and everything that has happened over the last two years has really worn people out and is pushing people away from men's professional golf." "And that's not a good thing for anyone." Bryson DeChambeau, for his part, speaking to the press on the sidelines of the ongoing LIV tournament on the Blue Monster at the Trump National Doral in Miami, starting from the hoped-for conclusion of the final framework agreement, stated: "There are several ways to solve the problem.

I think from a player's standpoint, we need to come together for the fans." "That's number 1." "Fans are what drives this sport. If there are no fans, there is no golf." "...There has to be a way to come together. How that can happen is beyond all of our control." "We can provide input.

We can say that one idea, rather than another, might be good." "But, ultimately, it's all in the hands of the guys at the top, who have to figure out what to do, and they have to do it quickly, because we can't continue to go in this direction."