77 year old Jack Nicklaus is one of the prodigies of the golfing world. He’s won just about every major American trophy there is, and has been an iconic figure not just in the golfing world, but for many millions who admire his style and grace without understanding a thing about the game.
But Nicklaus recently told reporters in Orlando, where he is roiling things up in the PNC Father/Son challenge with one of his grandsons, that he hasn’t sat down to watch a golf game on TV in years.
“When it’s on, I’m off” he joked with reporters.
He said that at home whenever someone is watching a golf game on TV he will get a book to read, take a nap, or go into another room. Not even the imminent return of Tiger Woods, afflicted with back problems and rotten PR, in the near future has made Nicklaus curious enough to want to watch the game again that gave him wealth and prestige.
But don’t get him wrong. There’s nothing wrong with the game of golf, he told reporters. It still fascinates him and he likes to sit back to play over some of his more famous tournaments. But watching a full game on television is not the same thing as participating in the game itself. There’s not that sense of self-challenge, or adrenaline rush when a ball goes exactly where it’s aimed at.
Sadly, Nicklaus disinterest in TV golf is mirrored by the public. Last year the Masters final round had its lowest TV rating in 13 years.