Date: September 03, 2012
Author: Ewan Porter / Golf Australia

Ewan Porter blog: Social media takes fans inside the ropes

If you haven t already become a fan of the world of social media, I suggest you do. It’s here to stay and beyond the knockers and anonymous buffoons lies a generation who hang on every tweet and update from their heroes. While it has bridged the gap between celebrity and fan, it has also allowed the public behind the scenes access to player s personalities and characters. I acknowledge the fact that Twitter and Facebook can wreak havoc if the tool is misused but this would all come under the bracket of common sense . Although our politically correct world has the majority who are in the media spotlight treading carefully (with the exception maybe of messers Nick Darcy and Kenrick Monk), it s hard not to be convinced that viewing our idols so candidly is a profound benefit for the game of golf. At the age of 30, I may not be perceived as a veteran but having been a professional for over a decade, I have progressively witnessed how social media has impacted so positively on our game. It’s not just the players who are seeing the benefits either, it s also golf clubs, associations, governing bodies, magazines, equipment companies and anything else golf related. In one simple tweet or post , several thousand, sometimes millions are instantly aware of your notification and such publicity can only do wonders. Fan pages on Facebook are also set up for athletes that will give the reader all the necessary updates in relation to upcoming appearances, products etc. You will no doubt have heard stories from yesteryear when players and caddies would sit around the bar telling stories until the wee hours of the morning. Those days are gradually passing but that camaraderie has only grown stronger in recent years and I direct much of this to the positive influence of social media. One only has to look at Ian Poulter s Twitter account to view the cheeky banter on display between he and several other players. Rickie Fowler, Bubba Watson, Luke Donald, Rory McIlroy, Lee Westwood and Aaron Baddeley are just some of those who revel in the era of technological verbal barbs . What s refreshing is that their camaraderie is shared by millions of people. That didn t happen in the 70 s and 80 s when there were a few inebriated men slurring their way to a forthcoming hangover. Whilst the digital era may be to the future detriment of print media international powerhouses like Fairfax Media Group are substantially slashing employees and this can no doubt be attributed to the growing influence of online accessability but it is a priviledge for our generation to witness this trend of social media explosion. One of my good friends, Peter Stone, who has been the Golf writer at the Sydney Morning Herald for over thirty years, has often told me how tight knit the relationship was between players and journalists back when he was commencing his career in the media. Peter became very good friends with Greg Norman among a host of other great players. It was a regular occurrence for a group of twenty guys to sit around the bar telling stories to each other only to repeat the charade the following evening. Long lasting friendships were born and both parties respected the other s job. Gradually, over the years, this gap grew more distant and players became enigmas. Reporters and journalists weren t treated with the same level of respect as they were in the bygone era therefore the public struggled to get to really know our stars. Thankfully, this trend has been bucked and I for one am hoping it is here to stay. I have witnessed over the past couple of years the exploits of Golf Australia s own Luke Elvy, along with fellow AAP US Golf correspondent Ben Everill. There is no question that when these men first traced the steps of their subjects, there would have been a feeling of intimidation and apprehension. Australian golfers share a close bond out on tour and any nerves they harbored early on would have diminished rapidly when they grew to see how approachable every one of our stars are. Follow both Luke and Ben on Twitter and you quickly gather an appreciation for how enthusiastic these men are with their jobs. This is no doubt due to the fact that they appreciate what the players are doing for their own careers and to be able to expose it so broadly and rapidly to a worldwide audience is immeasurable. On any given week throughout the season, you are guaranteed play by play updates on Twitter from any of the world s leading journalists and broadcasters. This, in particular, is fantastic news for Australian fans as not all of us are fortunate enough to have the benefits of cable television and live golf coverage. If you happen to be one of the skeptics out there who view the social media trend as a passing fad, believe me, you re in the minority. It’s here to stay and with good reason. Gotta go tweet! Ewan Porter is an Australian professional golfer who most recently played on the Tour in the United States. He won twice on that Tour – the 2008 Moonah Classic and the 2010 South Georgia Classic and is a freelance columnist for His views do not necessarily represent those of Golf Australia. You can follow him on Twitter: @ewanports