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When you get to thinking about it, a majority of watching sports is spent waiting. Waiting for the commercial break to end, the team to get up to the line, pitcher to come set and get ready to deliver. After that, it’s waiting for something to get the blood pumping. Double in the gap, big 3-pointer to take the lead, you get the idea. Problem is, you never know when that moment is actually going to come to fruition.
Me personally, I’m a guy who is fairly impatient. I value consistency and knowing what I’m going to get, when I’m going to get it. Sure, the beauty of sports is the thrill of competition and uncertainty of outcome. That’s essential and all, but waiting for that thrill can have its downside. Any event where you have some real skin in the game (either intense fanhood or half your rent check) will probably consistently thrill you no matter what’s happening on the field of play, but just casual watching can really leave you with long stretches of being let down. Hear me out on this, but watching golf is where you can avoid that.
Golf gets a bad rap for being boring to watch, and I get it. Especially for non-die hards, it can seem a tad droll. However, every few minutes on a golf broadcast, you’re getting a pairing teeing off on a Par 3. For my money, there’s no closer thing to a guaranteed exciting moment in sports than a pro golfer going for the green.
Nothing is more telling of how a golfer is going to score on a hole than that approach to the green, so essentially each Par 3 tee shot is instant results. Aside from the obvious ace or roll to a few inches of the cup that sends you out of your seat, there may not be peak excitement too often. But, every time that pro addresses his ball, you know you’re about to see something definite.
That definite action might not be great. You might definitely see someone put the final nail in their coffin by dunking their ball in the water hazard, but at least you got a defining result. If the ball actually lands on the green you get what could be a breathtaking roll towards the hole. There’s potentially more “holy shit!” moments in other sports, but each Par 3 shot grabs your attention and raises your pulse far more than a two-yard run or ground-ball to short.
There’s a high floor as far as entertainment level on these shots. May not be the greatest thing you’ve ever seen, but it won’t bore you to tears.
PGA, Web Tour, Euro Tour — doesn’t matter. From the second the ball is sent into flight any live or in-person viewer is on the literal or figurative edge of their seat. There’s a wonder of round and tournament changing possibility during the few seconds of flight time before the ball lands and rolls to its final destination. Any golfer will tell you that each golf shot matters, but those Par 3 tee boxes are the only places that every golfer on the course is going pin-hunting from the exact same location. There’s a reason for the crowds at the Par 3 rivaling or exceeding the crowd at 18 for most big tournaments.
Nothing is to say that seeing a last-second field goal to win the Super Bowl (or any football game) or a walk-off dinger can’t exceed the exhilaration one might get from a hole-in-one at the Valspar Championship. Hell, even Augusta. There’s not really a game-ending (tournament-clinching) decisive Par 3 out there. The Masters leader could sink one on #16 but the guy still has to close things out. Can’t just bat-flip his 9-iron and run into the clubhouse for champagne.
But, endings or even moments like that in other sports are fleeting. For every buzzer-beating 3-pointer, there are thirty games that end with seventeen intentional fouls in the final minute resulting in a six-point victory. We’ve had some luck with the recent thrilling CFB National Championship games, but we’re only four years removed from OSU beating the shit out of Oregon and leaving zero room for suspense. There’s no single occurrence I can point to in sports and guarantee that you’re going to get your heart rate up at that exact point — except any televised Par 3. A day spent watching the tee shots on 17 at TPC Sawgrass has a higher chance of giving you some elation on a regular basis than a run of the mill baseball game.
We live in an age where instant gratification is everything, and that’s no different with sports. Sports fans want results and they want them now. It’s the reason that RedZone is the best thing to ever happen to football, or guys use League Pass or MLB TV to jump to games in the 4th quarter or 9th inning. Most of the time, however, no matter when you flick on a sporting event randomly there’s a decent chance it’ll be to something mundane (as mundane as sports can be.) That text from your buddy to “turn on the Pats, Brady is driving” could lead you to a drive that stalls out on a 3rd and 8. But, you get that text that says “Tiger is about to tee off 17” when it’s Players Championship weekend, you know you’re about to get a rush.
You never know what you’ll get when you flip on a sporting event. Maybe something amazing, maybe something meh. You want the safe bet? Turn on golf and watch the Par 3s. Sure, it could end up just mildly interesting, but at least it’ll be consistent. But it could also end up like this. .