The Demise of Golf, or Why Tiger Woods Should Never have Happened

Before we leave the subject of clouded crystal balls and the American Mercury, I couldn’t resist adding a blurb from the August 1934 issue. You see, according to the author, one Gregory Mason (erstwhile organizer and conductor of several archeaological and anthropological expeditions into Central and South America), golf was a disgrace, and would shortly disappear. In other words, Tiger Woods is an historical anomaly. Allow me to quote a few lines from Mr. Mason’s opus, entitled “Golf is Happily Disappearing.”

“I wish to point out that our mental health has been improving. One of the chief reasons for this is the decline in golf playing… And this falling off in the addiction of our citizenry to pasture pool has been accompanied by a diminution in nervous ailments so marked that many nerve specialists have been forced into honest pursuits like dentistry or horse doctoring, while many an insane asylum has boarded up its doors.”

“Golf fiends belong to one of two psychological types. The much smaller of the two groups is made up of dull, unimaginative fellows without a spark of sensitiveness or humor, and with no reflexes at all. Golf champions are drawn from this class. But the much larger group is comprised of irritable, nervous, twitchy chaps. To this class belongs the great mass of golfers, the boobs who make a religion of golf,… and mortgage their homes to buy up cow pastures to be converted into golf courses, to the great detriment of the nations’ milk supply.”

“Show me a young man who calls golf ‘exercise’ and I will show you a fellow who has already reached the last stage of moral degeneration.”

“Cheer up, friends! Truly God moves in a mysterious way his wonders to perform. Take comfort in the realization that while the Depression has been thinning your purse, it has been strengthening the moral fibre of the nation by turning people away from golf.”

Clearly, then, but for World War II, golf would have been but a fading memory by now. I guess every cloud has a silver lining, at least for some people.

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