10 Ways Golf Beats Football

As we enter another furious weekend of football — and, btw, another season of golf with the Frys.com Open — it’s acknowledged that football is king in this country, based largely on our love of violence, gambling and high-fat foods on game day. But golf can go toe-to-toe with football and win hands-down in these 10 key match-ups.

No doubt, football is a great game that’s thrilling to play and watch, especially if you’re in a fantasy league or two. Nevertheless, football has become a bit too big for its britches and is tragically flawed on a number of well-publicized fronts. These flaws cause fans to give pause and appreciate golf. Put plainly, golf is a better sport, and here are 10 reasons why this is true:

  1. Golf has the right kind of violence. This country has always had a thing for violence, and violence — in the singular, jaw-dropping form of whacking a golf ball and watching it soar at 148 mph — is at the heart of why we play golf. This is the right kind of violence, as opposed to the wrong kind shown on the gridiron, the kind that hurts people for our entertainment and leaves them limping and/or lame brained later in life. No, if you like violence but are getting sick of the wrong kind, play golf and enjoy the right kind, the kind that deforms a golf ball (see video), not some kid’s knee.

  2. Football is exclusive, watched live only by the rich. If you want to attend the Frys.com Open, which opens the PGA Tour’s 2015 season this weekend, ticket prices were $35 to watch play on Wednesday and Thursday, and $45 for the weekend days. Kids and parking are free. For some Champion Tour tournaments, tickets and parking are free. Compare that to the average ticket price for NFL games in 2014, almost $85. And if you want to take the family to a game, bring lots of cash. The NFL’s average Fan Cost Index (cost for a family of two adults and two kids buying tickets, parking, drinks, hot dogs, programs, ball caps) is $479.
  3. Golf has no idiotic owners. Golf doesn’t have owners, but the NFL does, and some are real doozies who manage to make money — and sometimes embarrassing headlines — only because they’re in the NFL. But they’re buffoons who are really bad at running a sports franchise, and when they win they come across like a jackass eating cactus.

  4. Football wears out its welcome; golf never does. Golf broadcasts, with the easy humor, spectacular locations and mellowness mixed with magnificence, is there for our viewing pleasure year round. Matt Kuchar laments that there’s not enough break between seasons (true), but that’s the way it is. Golf doesn’t wear out its welcome in our homes, while football does. Football’s brilliant athletes and gripping games dominate our lives during the final quarter of the year, blocking out whatever normally contributes to a balanced life. The obsession, focus and intensity suck all the oxygen out of our living rooms, forcing us to hyperventilate with each score and do endless high-fives. But when the mayhem and maiming mercifully end after our fantasy football season flops and the Super Bowl game itself once again is a dud, we’re glad. We can breath easy again and enjoy watching Rory and Tiger make us forget winter.
  5. Golf’s commissioner makes much less than Roger Goddell. Reports vary, but one says the NFL commissioner makes about 44 million per. The latest report showed that PGA Tour commissioner Tim Finchem makes a measly $5.3 million per. Don’t get me started about what’s wrong with executive pay, but let’s just say Finchem makes less and is more gifted at leadership than Goddell.

  6. Golf gives more to charity. One report says the NFL in 2012 gave to charity “a meager $2.3 million. Almost all of it — $2.1 million — went to the NFL Hall of Fame.” On the other hand, the PGA Tour’s charitable contribution in 2013 exceeded $133 million, and the Tour announced earlier this year that it surpassed $2 billion in all-time charitable giving.
  7. You can play with golf — not football — Hall of Famers. The greatest names in golf play a round of golf with schmoes like you and me every week in pro-ams. That’s just not done in football. You may be able to play but, sadly, far too many of football HOFers are physically unable to do so.

  8. In golf, players tell it like it is (sort of). After a football game, the last guy I remember who blasted a coach was Randy Moss. This was shortly before he was released by the Minnesota Vikings during his second stint with the team. In golf, you’re your own boss and are not gagged or intimidated by a coach. Which is why a guy like Phil Mickelson can call out his Ryder Cup coach Tom Watson at a press conference immediately after competition ended. This doesn’t happen often; golfers don’t have coaches and are noted for sticking to the corporate, ever-optimistic script with the press. But it happens and is refreshing.

  9. Football players come and go, while golfers are good for the long haul. You can follow your favorite golfers in competition for 50 years. According to the NFL Players Association, the average career length is about 3.3 years. The NFL claims that the average career is about 6 years. Either way, a football great like Gale Sayers leaves the stage way too early, while greats like Nicklaus, Palmer, Watson and Player compete in majors in their 60s.
  10. We don’t watch replays of golfers taking brutal hits that make us turn away and pray for the athlete’s life.

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