By Cole Golden WGTF Master Golf Teaching Professional
Recently, after Jordan Spieth’s and Justin Thomas’ major wins, much has been said in regards to their friends being part of the celebration. It just so happens that these “friends” are other players on the Tour and can be found on the 18th green cheering on their buddies to victory. This has been a hot topic within the golf community. Is it good or bad for the game?
Some might say this behavior is abnormal. We never saw Tiger waiting around to congratulate Phil, or vice versa. I don’t think we ever will. The media wanted to play a “villain vs. hero” during that era. We don’t know if there was bad blood between them or not; it’s purely speculation.
With the introduction of social media, we are given a glimpse into the daily lives of today’s professional athletes. There is a friendship between many of the younger PGA Tour players: Spieth, Thomas, Fowler, Berger and Kaufman, to name a few. Their posts on social media often show them hanging out off the tour, even taking vacations together. They have a true bond of friendship; they want each other to succeed and are sincerely happy to celebrate their wins.
To me, this is great for the game. It shows that inside the ropes you can try to beat your friends and strive to win. However, once the game is over, true friendships are made, and it’s okay to celebrate one another’s successes. It helps strengthen the game and teach the younger generation how to carry oneself both on and off the course.
At the end of the day, all players want to win and compete at the highest level. Sometimes your best isn’t good enough. Being able to look across at your opponent and tell them great job while shaking their hand is a crucial part of the game that needs to live on. This gentleman’s game of today is also proving to be a game to be shared amongst friends.