I have never had much time for other sports. Given just how much it takes for one to push golf in India – with cricket, football and kabbadi grabbing a fair share of headline time – my hours are fairly stretched. These last few days though have been very interesting with golf's US Open (where an Indian, Shiv Kapur has been in the leader mix) and the start of FIFA. The timing of both happening together has made me wonder what makes them similar or are they just to far apart to compare.
If size alone would matter, football would far outstrip golf's goals – viral fan base, throaty 'Ole ole', powered up stadia, TRPs, goal posts size, big bulky teams, samba and sirens. If etiquette was a criteria, given what's on display in football, one can imagine why indeed golf is called a gentleman's game. In golf, barring the size of the field i.e the course there is little to vuvuzela about. Until of course you start talking monies.
Players who make it to the top of their game, make some serious money. Rory McIlroy, Tiger Woods, David Beckham are wealthy, thanks not just to their phenomenal flairs, but also through money-spinning sponsorship deals. Not just that from a brand point of views, it's the very best that want to associate with these sportstars.
Mostly golf is an individual game but there are instances of 'fan-fare' during its team formats. The Ryder Cup in Chicago in 2013 was when Europe's fans came up with chants of 'Europe! Europe!' and 'Olé, olé, olé, olé, olé, olé' as though in a football stadium. Then there are footballers who have taken to golf (I simply can't imagine the reverse happening). Take the example of Andriy Shevchenko, who is apparently a member of Wentworth Golf Club and made a debut on the European Challenge Tour last year in Ukraine. English footballer Jimmy Bullard is experimenting with golf since he quit his first sporting love. The former Fulham midfielder is using golf to get a new direction to his life.
Football and golf may appear starkly different going by the size of the ball but if you interpret them as sport, there are similarities. Most of all for those like me who are too busy to watch football, one can be sure these stadia superstars – Messi, Rooney and all – will eventually come down chipping up at the golf course. Isn't not just for fun that we see Rory and Rooney on advertisements already. There is a deeper connect with the ball there.