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Golf Experts Poll: Is the Game In Trouble if Tiger Never Regains his Form?

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Athlon polled a number of golf insiders on a variety of topics, but we start with this question: Are Tiger's problems primarily physical or mental? - See more at: http://athlonsports.com/golf/golf-experts-poll-are-tigers-problems-mental-or-physical#sthash.ovLdgVAh.dpuf

Athlon polled a number of golf insiders on a variety of topics, but we start with this question: Are Tiger's problems primarily physical or mental? - See more at: http://athlonsports.com/golf/golf-experts-poll-are-tigers-problems-mental-or-physical#sthash.ovLdgVAh.dpuf

The media frenzy surrounding the decision to play The Masters of a player who hasn't won a major in seven years is a clear indication that Tiger is still the game's dominant figure. But what if he never finds his game again? Can golf survive on a crowded sports landscape? Athlon asked the experts for their opinions.

Participants

Jay Coffin, Editorial Director, Golf Channel, @JayCoffinGC

Jason Deegan, Senior Staff Writer and Golf Advisor with The Golf Channel online, @WorldGolfer

Steve DiMeglio, USA Today, @Steve_DiMeglio

Bob Harig, ESPN, @BobHarig

Dan Jenkins, Author, Golf Digest Contributor, @danjenkinsgd

Garrett Johnston, Golf journalist, @JohnstonGarrett

Dave Kindred, Golf Digest, Sports on Earth Contributor, @DaveKindred

Alex Miceli, Senior Writer, Golfweek, @alexmiceli

Dan O’Neill, St. Louis Post-Dispatch

Dave Shedloski, Golf World, @DaveShedloski

Art Spander, Global Golf Post, @artspander

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Is the game in trouble if Tiger never regains his form?

Yes    6

No     5

Comments

• It (the game’s popularity) will never again be what it was at Tiger's peak.

• Whenever he is in contention, TV ratings soar. America either needs a great rivalry ... Rickie Fowler vs. Rory McIlroy? ... or great individual - Jordan Spieth? - to emerge.

• He was the ONLY needle. The PGA Tour can tells us it won’t hurt, that the Tour will be just fine, but you can’t say a drop in TV ratings, hits on websites for stories won’t suffer. Outside of the majors, Tiger is the only one that got on the front pages of major newspapers.

• No. The spectacle of the circus coming to town, and the importance of the majors, will always be of more value than any individual.

The game was fine before Tiger and will be fine after Tiger. He gave the game a huge spike, because he transcended the sport and bring in casual observers. Some of them have stuck around and golf is better for it. But the game remains a niche sport and will also appeal to those who are avid about it.

• The game's popularity is stable. Whether it continues to reach a broad audience without Tiger is questionable.

• No, the professional game is strong with or without Tiger. It’s the other game, the one where you go out and play with your friends, that is in trouble with or without Woods.

• Certainly it won’t help without Tiger, but the game isn’t going anywhere. There are plenty of young stars who have shown potential to do great things over the next two decades. There may never be another Tiger Woods, but that doesn’t mean that four or five men doing great things can’t help sustain interest.

• The game's popularity already is in trouble. Tiger impacts audience, but the game has been losing popularity for years.

• Yes, because be brought in the non-golfers.

• Yes, it is in trouble with the general sports fan.