In an age of Imax action movies and Ultimate Fighting, the leisurely sport of golf faces a harsh reality: Its biggest draw remains a 42-year-old with a bad back.
That star, the inimitable Tiger Woods, returns to The Masters on Thursday. Golf fans -- and the $70 billion industry -- are thrilled that he is now a favorite. If he continues to bounce back from a decade of injury and scandal, could he revive the favorite pastime of U.S. presidents from Eisenhower to Obama to Trump?
Probably not. Golf was a healthier, more popular sport during Woods’s early career. Even then, television networks, sponsors and tournament organizers benefited most from his runaway success, according to Jim Koppenhaver, founder of golf consulting firm Pellucid Corp.
“There was little to no correlation to the health of the core industry, which is in the business of running golf facilities, generating rounds, revenue and jobs,” Koppenhaver said.