Why Golf is Not a Sport

And neither is NASCAR, or anything Laird Hamilton does.

Given that it's played by millions, you'd think there'd be no question that golf is a sport. But Google the phrase "golf is not a sport" and you find a lot of people who think golf is down there, athletically speaking, with poker and beer pong. I had no idea they were calling me just "a dude with a stick." Yikes.

Most interesting were the arguments and filtering exercises going on to determine which activities were really sports. And that's why I’ve decided to send a few other so-called sports back to the bench.

One person commenting on an old CNN story about Tiger Woods said golf wasn't a sport because speed was essential to real sports. Good start. Okay, boxing, climbing, martial arts, wrestling, and any activity not requiring YOU to go fast, like horse racing and NASCAR—you're not real sports, get back on the bus, please.

"The golfer faces competition but no direct opposition," said a guy in the "Club Stogie Cigar Discussion Forum," who also classified golf as a non-sport. Okay, surfing, skiing, track, gymnastics, weightlifting, you're off the island.

Many posters and bloggers cited a lack of physical contact with other players as a reason golf is not a sport. Ok, swimming, snowboarding, volleyball, and the Red Sox, go find a seat—next to the triathletes.

"Every time I drive by a club I see plenty of less-than-fit human specimens making the rounds," said a writer for Spark-Online.com, complaining that golf wasn't a sport because it was "accessible to all people." So Babe Ruth, Yogi Berra, and Kirby Puckett—take your fat "activities" back to the locker room, and make room for Ted Washington of the Cleveland Browns; he weighs 365 pounds and you might need to reinforce the bench.

"Professional sports require sweat, baby," I read in an essay titled "Golf is Not a Sport" on noapologiespress.com. Well, you actually do break a sweat golfing, but it's not as intense as Lance Armstrong's. So, say bye to surfing, NASCAR, horseracing, diving, the luge, and other "light-sweat" activities. High-jumpers, see ya.

Finally, a sports editor for “athletic powerhouse” Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute nixed golf as a sport because Michelle Wie beat or tied 25 male PGA tour winners at the 2004 Sony Open: "A young teenager should not be able to compete with the world’s best, plain and simple," he wrote. On the other hand, Dickie Cronkite at journalscape.com felt golf is not a sport because "70-year-old men (and women) can continue to excel and whip on 18-year-olds." Either way, it seems age and gender differences don't exist for "real" sports. So tennis, blame Billie Jean King for disqualifying you, because she was 29 when she beat 55-year-old Bobby Riggs. And forget it, marathoners: 50 bazillion older men finished after Jelena Prokopcuka in New York in 2007.

So I guess that leaves poker and beer pong.