“The more successful the villain, the more successful the picture,” Alfred Hitchcock said. Which makes sense thatStar Wars, the most well-know film franchise in the world, boasts a first-class monster in Darth Vader.
No cinematic character is as universally associated with evil than Vader, and with good reason.
A larger-than-life disposition in aura (his presence is felt in scenes he’s not in) and appearance (no coincidence that he towers over others and garbed in black), Vader epitomizes “bad guy” in culture. It’s why Ronald Reagan referred to the Soviet Union as the “evil empire,” and why the Ukraine, in its decommunization process, dressed up a statue of Vladimir Lenin with Vader’s helmet.
These comparisons apply to the sports world. Athletics, it has been said, are society’s most riveting theater, and often contextualized in a “good vs. evil” panorama. Every game owns, and in some cases, markets, it’s villains. The New York Yankees, Nick Saban, New England Patriots, Kobe Bryant, the Duke Blue Devils: Outside of their regions, they are loathed. And their sports are better for it.
Which brings us to golf. And it’s lack of a “man in black.”
Certainly, from fan’s rooting perspective, golf is a different animal.
There are often multiple competitors you are pulling for, and, in most cases, not one you are advocating against. Case in point: The triumvirate of Jordan Spieth, Rory McIlroy and Jason Day. One of the recurring sentiments of golf’s youth revolution is group’s collective charm and congeniality. Ditto for Rickie Fowler. We want them to succeed.Yet, if you’re a Fowler follower, you’re not hissing at the TV if Fowler is out of the running and Spieth, McIlroy or Day are in line for victory. This is in contrast to say, Michigan football, as its fans do not send wishes to Ohio State when the Buckeyes are in the postseason.
Moreover, the golf course itself is a featured player; Augusta National, St. Andrews and Pebble Beach as prime examples. Like the golfers that rove their grounds, these places are usually beloved. Besides, you can’t abhor an inanimate object.
You could argue golf’s individualism spurs this outlook, and that’s a component in the equation. But other sports, whose characters work as lone entities, have their villains. Floyd Mayweather is reviled. For years, NASCAR fans hated Jeff Gordon. Tennis had John McEnroe, Lleyton Hewitt; Novak Djokovic was booed at the U.S. Open just seven years ago.
Source: Golf Digest
Pictures: Getty Images
Thanks for reading Every Sport needs a Bad Guy – Who will it be in Golf?