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Golf Boys 2.Oh

5 Mar

Yesterday, Rickie Fowler, Ben Crane, Bubba Watson and Hunter Mahan, aka the Golf Boys, released their second music video, and it already has more than 1 million views. This got me thinking about how much the internet and social media can change our views of people, especially celebrities.

If you have not seen the music video yet, or even if you have and just want to watch it again, you can find it here. Their first music video can be found here.

Rickie Fowler is known as one of the cool, young guys on the PGA Tour. He is sponsored by Puma and always wears bright clothes. He is especially known for wearing head-to-toe orange on Sundays in honor of his alma mater, Oklahoma State University. Rickie rides dirt bikes and had the potential to be a professional Motocross racer, but he chose golf instead.

I think of Bubba Watson as being a “good-old-boy.” He just kind of seems like a big goofball. He does not take things to seriously, which makes him a likeable guy. He owns the General Lee from the Dukes of Hazard, and he plays golf with a pink driver. What could be better than that?

Hunter Mahan is not as visible outside of the golf world, but he is good friends with Bubba and Rickie and a great golfer in his own right. He and Bubba do commercials together, and I can tell that he is a cool guy.

Then there is Ben Crane. On tour, he gives the impression of not having much personality. When he is playing, he takes a long time over every shot, and he does not show much emotion. He got the reputation of being a slow golfer and that did not help him gain fans, so he decided to do something about it.

Ben and his wife started making videos of him being funny and having fun. He wanted to show that he is not just some stick-in-the-mud golfer, and he definitely succeeded.

Basically, Ben makes fun of himself and his reputation for everyone else’s enjoyment, and enjoy it we do. My family and I have spent more than one evening sitting at home watching his videos. Every time he releases a new one, we all have to watch it.

Through his YouTube videos, Ben Crane has completely changed the way the golf community sees him. Now, instead of being the boring, slow guy, he is the hilarious, goofball that people want to hang out with.

He has even had people start reenacting his videos when they see him. Check out this video of the San Diego State University women’s golf team seeing him in the airport. Instead of rushing up for autographs and pictures, they started acting out his “workout” video. This shows me that his videos have made a real impact on his public image.

Social Media has led to plenty of PR success stories, but this one is especially impressive to me because Ben Crane was not trying to do or be anything special. He was just having fun, being silly, and it paid off for him in a big way. I would guess that his popularity has gone way up, and all he did was post a few videos on YouTube.

One Hole Could Save the Game

3 Feb

Today is the last day of the Waste Management Phoenix Open at the TPC Scottsdale. In my opinion, this is one of the best golf tournaments of the year. It is one of the most entertaining tournaments to watch, and I wish more of them were like this. The Phoenix Open is all about the fans. It is the one tournament of the year that allows the fans to go wild and cheer for or yell at the players. In fact, the players actually encourage the rowdiness. In particular, the 16th hole is unlike anything else in professional golf and is something that I, personally, would love to see.

Being a golfer myself, I think having a tournament that focuses on the fans is fabulous, and also that it is necessary for keeping people interested in watching the game. I have heard so many people say that they think golf is a boring sport and that it is no fun to watch. However, one look at the 16th hole of the Phoenix Open would completely change those opinions. The entire hole is surrounded by stands that are absolutely packed with people. Everyone cheers and screams when the players come through the tunnel onto the tee, they hold up signs to score the players’ shots, and they even boo when players hit bad tee shots.

Instead of getting offended or trying to get the fans under control, the golfers encourage this behavior. I think that they enjoy the change in atmosphere and the chance to put on a show. They try to get the fans excited before they hit, and some of them even throw souvenirs into the stands as they walk up to the hole. It creates just as much fun for the players as it does for the 500,000 people that come to watch the tournament over the course of the four days.

Even the caddies get into the excitement. Spectators on the 16th hole take bets on which caddie will step on the green first. The caddies race down the fairway amidst the cheers of the crowd hoping to win their race.

I wish more golf tournaments focused on the fans. The fans are crucial to the survival of the sport because without fans, there is no professional golf. When I was younger, Tiger Woods made a splash in the golf world, and many kids around my age starting picking up the game. He inspired a generation, but now his influence has tapered off, and interest has begun to wane. I think doing more for the fans would be a effective place to start building an audience again. Many of the newer professionals have tried to fill Tiger’s shoes and become the next inspiration for the game, including my personal favorite Rickie Fowler, but so far none of them have succeeded. I think fan involvement would be a smart place to start to build a new audience for the game.

I understand that not all tournaments can be this way, especially because golf is still considered a gentlemen’s sport, and etiquette is central to the game. However, I think letting fans loose every now and then might just be the breath of fresh air the game needs to continue building new fan bases and to keep the proud tradition of the PGA Tour going strong.

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