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Golf’s existential crisis is coming to Netflix

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was not It is always clear that the game of golf requires treatment in a brilliant documentary style. My mom has been watching for a long time strong blows, The HBO series that is included in NFL Training Camp every year, he thought a project similar to warts and everyone could work on his favorite sport. But he initially had a difficult time presenting the case.

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He began hatching a plan for the show in 2019 and, along with a PGA Tour acquaintance, spent a year recruiting talent before pitching the series around Hollywood. no one. Gabe Spitzer, an executive on the Netflix documentary team, told me his early reservations were largely about the show’s limited scope at the time: At the time, the sports majors—the most popular of its four events, judged separately—were not. “We said, ‘Look, we’re intrigued,’ but see if you can get the majors, and come back to us if you do,” Spitzer said. “”

So Mumm set out to recruit the majors: The Masters, The Open Championship, The US Open, and The PGA Championship. What he discovered soon took him by surprise. Golf’s isolationism has long worked in its favour: privileged advertisers cared about the wealth, not the size, of the sport’s audience. But in the world of social media and broadcast television, the sport had fallen behind — and the officials knew it. Despite all the grandeur and tradition of the Masters, explained Amy, the people who are transparent and involved in that tournament are “going forward about how they tell the story. They know that a tournament can’t be just for old people; they need younger audiences.” “. (Funny, Mumm told me, he’s heard that the Netflix engineering team considers the main streaming app to be the best on the market — after Netflix.)

At the same time, the world of professional golf began to ebb, and the prospect of appearing on a television show had new appeal for players. Professional pros like Joel Dahmen and Max Homa have been building fan bases by behaving less like bird machines and more like humans. “As I’ve gone through my years here on the PGA Tour, I’ve grown a lot, but I’ve also decided to play my best golf when I’m really enjoying it, having a good time,” Dahmen told me. “It wasn’t, like, a set plan. I will tweet moreor I will do more interesting things. It was like, well, if I continue to play golf well, and have fun doing it, then it’s okay for me to show the world that.”

When it comes to professional golf, “tweet more” is somewhat revolutionary. As Chris Wandell, a PGA Tour director who worked with Mumm on the field, points out, in this universe, the all-encompassing documentary was…new. He told me, “The first time I brought this idea up in front of our management team, they were like, ‘Wait a minute, what if they swear? (Neither the PGA Tour nor cast members endorse what appears on the show.)

That Dahmen, with one Tour win to his name, is among the sport’s most notable successes on social media is a reminder that the ceiling for stardom in golf, where players are independent contractors and must market themselves, is fairly low compared to other professional tournaments. Two-time major winner Justin Thomas explained the dynamic succinctly when I caught him in the East Lake Players’ Lunch Room: “Even if you’re a top player, unless you’re, like, a Tiger, no one really knows who you are.”

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