In the wake of golf superstar Tiger Woods’ announcement that he is taking an indefinite leave from the sport, many are wondering if the impact will go beyond the leaderboard of golf scores and depress local economies at venues of major golf tournaments.If you think that is an exaggeration, consider this: the overall economic impact of golf is estimated at $75 billion. A major golf tournament can generate more than $100 million in direct and indirect revenue for a location that hosts it and related interests.
A good example is the PGA Championship, which is scheduled to take place at Whistling Straits golf course in Sheboygan County, Wisconsin, in August. The last time the championship was held at Whistling Straits, in 2004, Woods drew huge crowds and brought in approximately $76 million in revenue to the Wisconsin state economy.
“Obviously, we want that to happen again and we need a shot in the arm with the economy here,” County Administrator Adam Payne told a local ABC-TV affiliate, WISN.
“I know we have people in this community I’m sure that are very concerned about it and what it means for the success of the championship as well as again, what it means for our economy,” Payne said.
The head of Sheboygan County’s Tourism Alliance told 12 News, “We’re watching the situation closely, but it’s too early to judge what the economic impact might be.”
When Woods sat out several tournaments last year to recover from knee surgery, TV viewership dropped 50 percent. Fewer viewers worldwide would mean fewer people seeing Sheboygan County and its world class golf course, county officials said.
With millions in local tourism dollars on the line, Woods’ private scandal could have a very public impact. The golf great is more than an athlete without peer – he’s an industry.
We’re tempted to say that a prolonged absence from golf by Woods might necessitate a stimulus package of some sort for the PGA. But since Tiger’s familiarity with same apparently has shot his stellar career into the rough, we won’t go there.