Golf’s major players looking for the Netflix Effect

Seamus Rotherick
By Seamus Rotherick April 5, 2022 11:16

Netflix has announced a deal with the PGA Tour and golf’s governing bodies that operate the four majors and other serious events in the golfing calendar to create a documentary series. Details of the series are scarce, but for Netflix to bring these golf stakeholders together in agreeing to provide access to these events and some of golf’s biggest names is a major coup. The series promises to provide viewers with unparalleled access to the mechanisms of competing at the highest level of golf. It will feature an eclectic group of players and their support teams as they train, travel, win, and lose. Emmy-winning Vox Media Studios and London-based production company Box To Box Films will produce the series. The involvement of Box To Box Films shows why this series has been sanctioned by golf’s major institutions, as the production company is currently riding a wave of praise for their show Formula 1: Drive to Survive.

Future Stars

The list of players that will participate in the series is long, but some standout names are:

Justin Thomas – The American golfer is former World Number One and has continued being excellent after an impressive breakout year in 2017. A PGA Championship winner, he’ll be expected to add to his silverware and is currently 18.0 to win the US Open 2022 in golf betting, making him a top-ten ranked competitor. Indeed, Thomas will be expected to make an impact and win another major in 2022, so capturing how he deals with the pressure could make for interesting viewing.

Ian Poulter – Not a player many would put their money on to win a tournament anymore, but a popular figure on the circuit and a unique dress sense. His sense of humor and personality, rather than his prowess with a golf club should see him become a notable contributor to the series.

Bubba Watson – A well-known figure in the game and one of few left-handed golfers to become a multiple major champion. American audiences particularly will relish seeing Bubba in the series and those that play the game will be interested to see how he practices making those long drives for the tee.

Keita Nakajima – The world’s number one ranked amateur golfer should attract interest as he competes with the experienced pros in the first major championships of his career. The rookie F1 drivers made for interesting viewing in Formula 1: Drive to Survive and they’ll be hoping Nakajima can also become a focus for viewers.

Image from Pixabay

Those that authorized the series are clearly hoping it will be successful in enticing more fans to take an interest in golf and increase viewing figures. That has certainly been the case with Formula 1: Drive to Survive, but the series could be remarkably beneficial for the professional golfers agreeing to take part in the series.

Notable big names that have not agreed to take part are Tiger Woods, Jon Rahm, Phil Mickelson, and Rory McIlroy. Yet, the series producers will probably be unconcerned by their reluctance to join in, as Formula 1: Drive to Survive has become hugely popular without reigning Formula 1 world champion Max Verstappen. The Red Bull Racing driver’s disinterest in appearing in interviews on the show might wane as popularity grows and the big names in golf might also agree to appear once they see the potential. It’s difficult to predict which players will become the stars of the show, but Netflix definitely creates superstars.

The Netflix Effect

The so-called Netflix Effect is when a series aired by the subscription streaming service is so popular that it launches an unknown individual into the realm of being globally recognized and hugely in demand. This effect applies to actors in a surprise hit show such as Squid Game, but Formula 1: Drive to Survive has shown that sports stars can also benefit.

The hit show has hugely increased the profile of the drivers involved, including those that aren’t challenging for championships but are likable characters such as Daniel Ricciardo. Even the Formula 1 team principals are feeling the effect as the rivalry between Toto Wolff (Mercedes) and Christian Horner (Red Bull Racing) has made them household names.

As well as increasing the profiles of the drivers and team principals involved, Formula 1: Drive to Survive has proved monumentally good for the sport of F1 as a whole. The show is credited with allowing F1 to crack the American audience with viewing figures and race attendances all getting a boost through American interest. Whether the same boost will be experienced in golfing circles as a result of the upcoming show remains to be seen, but there will be high hopes attached to the project.

Netflix is the world’s leading streaming entertainment service and it taking an interest in golf can be nothing but a good thing for the players, governing bodies, and all the fans that want a sneak behind the scenes.


Seamus Rotherick
By Seamus Rotherick April 5, 2022 11:16
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