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There have been certain sporting events that have transcended a simple act or achievement, while receiving global recognition as culturally significant moments. Take the seminal second bout between boxers Joe Louis and Max Schmeling, which went beyond being a personal duel in the ring and instead assumed greater importance as a battle between the free states of America and the fascist principles of Hitler’s Germany.
Joe Louis’s stunning second round victory established him as a poster boy for freedom, and in the space of just 5 minutes more than 70 million listeners across the globe had been inspired with hope, joy and expectation. This is just a single example of how sport has continually reached out beyond its boundaries, while succeeding in breaking down cultural barriers and narrating incredible stories of individual attainment and glory.
On a more fundamental level, there has been a general evolution across numerous sports during the last two decades. More specifically, established sporting nations such as the U.S., UK and Australia have become less dominant while emerging countries have contributed towards a more globally diverse pool of talent. As a result, the balance of power in heavyweight boxing has shifted from America to Eastern Europe, while players from China are now beginning to dominate the eminently British sport of Snooker.
This evolution has been particularly apparent in the world of golf, which was once inhabited primarily by participants from the U.S., UK, Australasia and South Africa. The leading players of recent generations all emerged from these regions, supported by excellent government investment, personal wealth and an outstanding sporting infrastructure. This is no longer the case, however, as players from South America, India and most noticeably China are beginning to emerge as equally creditable competitors.
This has not only boosted the global appeal of golf, but also broken down several social and cultural barriers that have restricted interest in the sport through the years. To begin with, there have been an influx of younger players during the last decade, as globally recognized stars such as Rory McIlroy, Ricky Fowler and more recently Nick Watney have afforded the sport a more contemporary appeal. This trend is not only limited to the men’s game, either, as starlet Michelle Wie has been making headlines since turning professional shortly before her 16th birthday in 2005.
The recent achievement of Guan Tianlang have compounded the evolution of the sport, as the Chinese prodigy is set to become the youngest ever U.S. Masters competitor next April. Aged just 14, he is the very embodiment of how golf has developed significant global appeal and reached out to an increasingly younger fan base. As the average age of golfing professionals has dwindled, so too the diversity of cultural backgrounds involved with the sport has become more pronounced, with the result that young amateurs from anywhere in the world can now aspire to play regardless of their social standing or level of personal wealth.
While sport will continue to be evolutionary in its nature, it is fair to surmise that golf will continue to grow as an accessible and globally well received past time. The presence of youngsters Guan Tianlang at major events can only be positive for the sport, as it will inspire individuals of all ages and social demographics to pursue their burgeoning passion for the game. With this in mind, it appears as though golf is finally beginning to achieve its rightful standing as an authentic, competitive and international sport.
Author Bio: This article was written by golfing fan Lewis Humphries on behalf of Lost Golf Balls. A supplier of high quality golf balls from the world’s leading manufacturers, it offers great deals to enthusiasts who are keen on taking up the game.