Watched golf this weekend—no this was not a masochistic endeavor. It was sort of a one-man straw poll on the sport that once rose like a supernova that is now descending like a fallen star.What is watching golf like without Tiger Woods?It’s like having sweet tea without the sugar; like watching Training Day without Denzel; like a Beyonce video that’s too dark to see.Empty.It does not matter the event or the depth of the field. If Tiger Woods is not playing, the panache is absent.It once was considered an overstatement to say that golf lived and died with Tiger Woods. Not anymore. Golf is dying—professionally and recreationally—as Woods makes his descent.Watching Woods play badly is more interesting than seeing world No. 1 Rory McIlroy shoot 62.Who would have thought that a Black man would dominate the sport so significantly that at one point people wondered if it was good for the game that he won so much? Here’s the thing: Everyone won when Woods was at his apex.TV ratings were sky high. Prize money exponentially increased to induce Woods to play and because sponsors were at a premium, knowing Woods was going to fill the course with patrons in record numbers and generate unprecedented TV ratings. Many who never considered the game recreationally began playing, especially in the Black community.Woods made a lot of people a lot of money as a Black man reigning over a traditionally white sport, and doing it with flair.You had to watch. And you began to think you should at least try to play. Even if you weren’t very good—which describes everybody in the beginning.But the worst case scenario happened to the game: Tiger Woods is not playing as he tries to locate a game that has been missing for some time now. His absence and the decline of golf viewership run parallel. It is not a coincidence.Phil Mickelson’s a great American player who does not have the zest of Tiger. McIlroy is as interesting as Irish coffee. A host of young, talented players have no drawing power to the casual, would-be viewer.Television ratings have dipped to levels of the absurd without Woods. The final round of the 2014 Masters lured only 7.8 percent of television viewers. That weekend produced the unique major championship’s smallest TV audience since 1993.Sunday when Tiger does not probably could have been tallied by head count by Neilson.Unless Woods’ game has deteriorated to the point where he wouldn’t want to embarrass himself, he will tee it up next month in Augusta at the Masters. Watch the ratings skyrocket, whether he plays well or not.If, by some amazing reversal, Wood is in contention on Sunday, golf executives around the country would be kissing his spikes. He moves the interest meter like no one in sports has since Michael Jordan.Outside the PGA Tour, golf is losing, too. TaylorMade-Adidas Golf, the world’s biggest maker of golf clubs and clothes, had sales plummet 28 percent last year, its parent company Adidas said to The Washington Post.More stats: Sports & Fitness Industry Association data show those who said they played golf at least once last year has fallen to one of its lowest point in years. Young people—that coveted 18-to-30 demographic—playing golf has fallen an incredible 35 percent over the last decade.And more stats: More golf courses closed than opened in 2013 for the eighth straight year, according to the National Golf Foundation. And the number of course closures has sped up, averaging 137 closings every year since 2011, data from golf-industry researcher Pellucid show—right around the time Woods began to fall apart.“There’s nobody out there who’s going to save us,” Pellucid’s president Jim Koppenhaver said at a Professional Golfers Association of America gathering in January. “We have to save ourselves.”Tiger Woods gave golf a great gift. An identity. A reason to watch. Inspiration to play. All that’s fading now, and the numbers say the descent is in full throttle. As he works to get back to form, the game continues to diminish in stature and interest. Now, you can bet all those who were rooting against Woods are now praying for him to save the sport.
The San Francisco Board of Supervisors’ vote to approve a ban on selling e-cigarettes was unanimous. Bill O’Leary/The Washington Post via Getty Images San Francisco has banned the sale of e-cigarettes like Juul, with the board of supervisors voting unanimously to approve the ordinance Tuesday. It’s the first city to implement such a ban. E-cigarettes are battery-operated, converting flavored liquid nicotine into a vapor inhaled by the user. Juul, headquartered in San Francisco, has been making headlines after its popularity among teenagers forced it to shutter its social media presence late last year while the FDA investigated concerns it was promoting underage use of tobacco products. “We spent the ’90s battling Big Tobacco. And now we see its new form through e-cigarettes,” supervisor Shamann Walton said Tuesday, according to the San Francisco Examiner. “I am not going to put profits of Big Tobacco over the health of our children and our young people.” Read more: How to quit Juuling, according to addiction experts Tags Share your voice In response to Juul’s PR push to absolve itself for creating the youth e-cig epidemic (teen e-cig use spiked 78% last year), we’ve launched an ad campaign that tells the truth:Juul enticed kids with sweet flavors like mango and mint, then hooked them with a strong nicotine hit. pic.twitter.com/bQDreyn06f— Campaign for Tobacco-Free Kids (@TobaccoFreeKids) June 25, 2019 Juul controversy “Juul enticed kids with sweet flavors like mango, creme and mint, then hooked them with a strong nicotine hit,” the poster says. “Last year, teen e-cigarette use spiked 78%. It’s an epidemic.” Kwong said Juul has already taken “aggressive actions” to prevent underage purchasing of its products, like online age verification and its halting of sales of non-tobacco and non-menthol flavored pods across the nation last year. He also pointed to Juul shutting down its Facebook and Instagram accounts. The ordinance was also opposed by corner store owners, according to the Examiner, with the Small Business Commission arguing it’d cost $70 million in sales for the 738 businesses that sell vapes in San Francisco. Read more: Vaping might ruin your smile, permanentlyThe board of supervisors didn’t immediately respond to a request for comment, but CNET sister site CBS News said the ordinance now awaits Mayor London Breed’s signature and will take effect six months after that. Offending retailers could be fined $1,000. “San Francisco has never been afraid to lead,” City Attorney Dennis Herrera said. “Youth vaping is an epidemic. If the federal government is not going to act to protect our kids, San Francisco will.” San Francisco in May was also the first city to ban its police officers from using facial recognition technology, citing a breach of citizens’ civil liberties. Culture Gadgets Politics Legal The ordinance was introduced in March. It prohibits the sale of e-cigarettes that require, but have not received, FDA approval for marketing. The ban will create a “black market” for vapes, Ted Kwong, a Juul Labs spokesperson, told CNET in an emailed statement. Regulation rather than prohibition would be more effective, he said. “This full prohibition will drive former adult smokers who successfully switched to vapor products back to deadly cigarettes,” Kwong said. “In San Francisco, we are supporting efforts going forward to enact new strict regulation and enforcement.” Regulations could include mandatory electronic ID scanning to verify age, restricting bulk purchasing to prevent third-party reselling of vapes, city permits for online vape retailers and marketing restrictions, Juul suggested.The ordinance’s passage follows the Campaign for Tobacco-Free Kids earlier Tuesday tweeting a poster accusing Juul of “luring” children to use its products by offering flavors like mango and mint. Juul vaporizer: What is it, why are teens addicted and is it safe? How to quit Juuling, according to addiction experts Juul is shutting down on social media, halting retail orders for flavored pods Juul is giving users tools to help them quit its e-cigs 12 Photos 3 Meet the smart vapes: App-enabled vaporizers seek to cash in on cannabis Comments