American professional golfer Tom Watson was walking up to the final green, the crowd cheered into roarings. Most of the spectators including those who watched on the televisions were anxious to witness a record in golf history. It was July 19, 2009 at the British Open in Scotland. Tom Watson led by one stroke of the eighteenth hole on the fourth day into the final. If he putted the golf ball into an eight-foot hole in one stroke, he would have won this major championship, and taken with him one million dollars prize money. He would also break the record of the oldest man to win a major title at age fifty-nine. The last record is forty-eight in the 1968 PGA. Sadly though, he missed that putt and eventually lost out the tournament in the playoff. With most of the people still in great disappointments, he opened up the post-round press conference, watching all the reporters sitting in dead silence, he bitterly said, "Hey, this isn't a funeral, you know."
Golf tournaments are the classic places where young pros of twenty and older pros over forty compete at their best all the time. If this scenerio is applied to other sports, it might suggest that Michael Jordon should still be able to play for the Chigaco Bull in the NBA. Ben Johnson should still be fit to run for the hundred meter races in the Olympic Games. Will this hypothesis be true? Or on the other hand, does golf classify as a sport at all? It is obvious that many people, especially the energetic groups, do not believe golf is a sport because of the ways it is presenting, that players are mostly walking or riding on carts in the course, swinging clubs one shot at a time with minimum muscle exercises. To examine this argument further, we look at NCAA's definitions of sport which is written as: "(1) An institutional activity involving physical exertion with the purpose of competition within a collegiate competition structure; (2) at least five regularly scheduled competitions within a season; and (3) standardized rules with official rating/scoring systems" (Varnavas 43).
Physical exertion is one of the major focuses of sports that most of them require body strengths to compete with. It was not a clear requirement of such need in golf until professional young golfers like Tiger Woods helped to change the perception. Though golf is not a direct physical competition, golfers would still need to build up the similar body strengths as other athletes do in order to gain driving distances and accuracies. "The golf teams in Stillwater were among the first to adopt fitness regimens in the 1980s, where student golfers were often working out in the same room with the football players" (Herrington 88). United States Golf Teachers Federation recommends regular strength, flexibility, and exercises to improve a person's game and reduce the risk of injury. Studies show that, "Decrease in heart rate and a lower cortical activity moment before the golf swing are signs of an optimal performance state for the best players" (Hellstrom 845). Therefore golfers seldom run or rush rather trying to keep the same "tempo" because they have to maintain the consistencies throughout the games. Perhaps this may be the major misunderstanding for people who don't play this game. In fact, physical exercise can be altered by the individual; for example, some players are carrying forty pound golf bags on their backs to walk through seven thousand yards in the whole game.
In terms of competitions, all tennis courts look pretty much standard, as well as basketball and football playgrounds are of the same sizes. This is another difference that each golf course is designed with personal character in the variations of terrains, sizes, landscapes and locations. Every golfer is facing the challenges out of these special designs in the competitions, and possibly the main attraction in golfing. "Tasks focus, confidence, imagery, patience, ability to focus on one shot at a time has found to be important during competition" (Hellstrom 845). This is a game playing for pin point accuracy with minimizing of errors. A golfer is not actually trying to beat others directly using force or speed. Rather the winners are the ones or teams who shot fewer strokes than their opponents throughout the execution of appropriate tactics, toward distance and path controls with fourteen clubs in their bags. Accumulating experiences in play is also an ongoing differentiator for a good golfer to adapt, other than the physical fitness needed.
The earliest recorded reference to golf in the Americas is from the sixteen