Open Mic: Yes, Golf is a Sport

Nikil RamanathanCorrespondent IJune 22, 2008

First off, let me clear up a couple of things.

Golf is a sport.

Golfers are athletes.

There has been great debate about the above statements. Many consider golf to be merely a game, but not worthy enough to be called a sport. These same people feel that because golf is not a sport, its players do not deserve the title of athlete.

I am here to tell you that this mind of thinking is 100% false.

Golf is a sport. Anyone who has ever played the game can agree to this statement. The sport is very difficult, not just physically, but mentally.

Many feel in golf there are not as many physical hurdles to overcome and thus they have a lower view of the game. But golf is just as demanding as other sports.

Yes, you are not tackled in golf. You do not slide in golf. You are not checked in golf. You do not need to run in golf. But these are not the only guidelines of a sport.

Golf requires its players to walk across a grueling course, miles on end. It requires its players to play in all types on conditions whether it be sweltering heat, stormy rain or in chilly weather. It requires you to play eighteen holes over five hours, a good eighty strokes for the average golfer.

Injuries in golf are likely. Players have so much acceleration in their swings that there is great risk of injuring a knee or hamstring. Plus, walking a couple of miles over the course of the five hour round can't help matters.

The game requires its players to be incredibly fit, physically and mentally. The game requires great knowledge and equally great strength.

As you can see, golf also requires a great deal from its players.

These players must cope with the demands of the sport and thus they are the ones who must face these daunting courses. They are the ones who must deal with these countless injuries. They are the ones who must rise above and move forward.

The argument that golfers are not athletes is, for lack of a better word, bogus. What makes these golfers any different from athletes of other sports? Are they not athletes because they don't get hit?

The fact of the matter is, golfers are athletes. They must cope with the same injuries that players of other sports do.

They must deal with weather conditions just like the players of other sports do.

They must put their body out and take a toll every time they take the course, just like the players of any other sport.

The real question is: why must we be so cynical to such a beautiful game?

Why must we, as critics, have such an animosity to a game that requires skill and talent far beyond our own capabilities?

Why must we succumb to believing that golf is not a sport?

Why must we succumb to believing that the gifted players who love to play this game are not athletes?

Merriam Webster dictionary defines a sport as: a physical activity engaged in for pleasure.

Tiger Woods once said:

I love to play golf, and that's my arena. And you can characterize it and describe it however you want, but I have a love and a passion for getting that ball in the hole

Merriam-Webster defines an athlete as: a person who is trained or skilled in exercises, sports, or games requiring physical strength, agility, or stamina.

Tiger Woods is the quintessential example of an athlete. He is determined, focused and strong-willed.

He is gifted and talented far beyond anyone's imagination. He is driven, committed, and passionate toward the game of golf and he is relentless.

He is the definition of a golfer. He is the definition of an athlete.