By Alex O’Connor
Last Sunday, the World Golf Championship concluded with a spectacular ending. Bubba Watson, winner of this year’s Masters, was down by two strokes going into the last hole. The hole was a Par 5 and Watson went for the green in two shots. He missed the green, went into the bunker and was forced to make his next shot. Watson did just that, and chipped in to force a sudden death playoff. On the first hole of the playoff versus Tim Clark, Watson sunk a 20-foot birdie putt to win the tournament. This tournament being a non-major, it had many golf analysts wondering how big of an impact a finish like this would have on the sport as well as where it rates among other great finishes from the year. Historically, the non-major tournaments receive significantly less media attention on the National and International stage. In addition, the Ryder and President’s Cups have the intense rivalry built up by American media between the U.S. and Europe. Now that we have seen a finish of this magnitude from a high-caliber player, this may be the turning point for large-scale media to give more attention to the non-major tournaments.
Ryan Lavner, writer for GolfChannel.com made the case that this tournament had the best finish to any tournament this year. Lavner created a off-hand check sheet of great viewing qualities of a gold tournament. He listed: jitters, clutch shooting and a sigh of relief at the end. All were answered with a yes. In addition, GolfChannel.com writer Will Gray pointed out the statistical nature that gave him the conclusion as the best finish of 2014. Five players had a shot to win the tournament on the last hole, and Watson was the most unlikely. Though the tournament was held in China, it was brought to national attention minutes after Watson sunk the last putt.
Due to Watson’s remarkable win, there may have been a turning point in the golf industry. The average sports fan who now turns on SportsCenter will see Watson’s victory and may remember the tournament he played in. If that person does, this will enhance the popularity of the game solely based on a players’ performance over the course of two holes. In addition, that fan may become a Watson fan after the performance and follow the sport to a larger degree. This past performance was not only good for Watson, but for the sport itself.