Do Tour Players Need To Be Athletes?

Golf Care, 29th January 2019

It’s what we’ve come to expect; a truck load of 20-somethings waltzing off with the trophy pretty much every week. So what do we think when a man with a grizzly beard and a bulging waistline turns them all over on the European Tour?

James Savage and Mark Townsend from our partner National Club Golfer have very different opinions…


Yes, says James Savage

Firstly, Shane Lowry is more of an athlete than I ever will be. He hits the ball a mile and has flexibility like I could only dream of.

But is he going to help inspire youngsters to take up the sport?

When Pat Perez won on the PGA Tour last year he vowed to never work out.

This was met with widespread approval on social media.

“Good on him”, “Never change Pat,” they said.

But should overweight players in their 40s really be winning tour events? Is this good for the game?

I like Lowry and Perez – they seem like decent  blokes and are undoubtedly  fantastic golfers.

But as horrible as it sounds, I think it’s better for the game if ‘athletes’ win.

Hear me out.

When Tiger Woods was in his pomp golf was in the best shape (no pun intended) it has ever been.

Kids wanted to put a Nike hat on and head to the range. He was a role model. He was the ultimate athlete. Everyone wanted to be Tiger.

Other than Mark, no-one really wants to be Pat Perez – he’s not inspiring youngsters to take up the sport.

Think about Anthony Joshua in boxing – he is inspiring people to take up boxing. He is a role model. He is the ultimate athlete.

I feel terrible for saying so but I think golf needs a new Tiger Woods – a new supreme athlete for young kids to try and copy.


No, says Mark Townsend

To those of us carrying a bit of timber the professional world of core strength, lightning clubhead speeds and early-to-bed routines couldn’t seem further away.

Even the prospect of a slim-fit trouser didn’t seem possible in the 90s.

Yet here we are, with the winners’ list getting ever younger and the midriffs getting ever smaller, and then we get a Shane Lowry win and very nearly Philly Mick completing the overweight double.

In my head someone carrying a few extra pounds always looks more comfy with a club in hands and the grace that they swing the club might hopefully attract more people to give it a go.

There are plenty of us about and when a big lad gets the job done it’s more heartening than watching DJ crush it 367 off the tee and spend the day hitting a succession of wedges. None of us can compute with that.

Pat Perez has some good opinions on the matter.

“It’s frustrating because I see these guys, perfect builds, they’re tall and they’re skinny and they’ve got all this strength, and then there’s me who kind of waddles around. I don’t like working out, I like to sit, kind of do nothing.”

He’s a winner and he won’t be changing his outlook any day soon.

“I’m not going to change anything. I’m still not going to work out. I’ll still have a bad diet and I’m going to enjoy myself.”

In 2017 Perez, who also underwent shoulder surgery in 2016, was one of five players in their 40s to win, those under 25 racked up a record-setting 18 victories.

So when you next look in the mirror and see your belly drooping sadly over your belt, your hair in even bigger trouble and you’re nursing a stinking hangover think of old Pat and get grinding out on the course.


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