LONDON: Golf has emerged as Britain’s dullest sport in a survey confirming the historic phrase wrongly attributed to Mark Twain that it is “a good walk spoiled”.
The YouGov poll – published in Thursday’s edition of The Times – found 70 per cent of the 1,616 adults asked for their opinion adjudged golf to be the dullest – only 11 per cent considered it to be exciting.
Despite attracting sell-out crowds at Wembley for NFL games American Football is considered the second dullest (59 per cent) whilst after the 4-0 Ashes drubbing by Australia there is more bad news for English cricket as it is just behind in third with 58 per cent.
English golfer Matthew Southgate – who finished joint sixth in The British Open last year – concurred with the findings and was not surprised athletics topped the poll in terms of being considered the least dull (28 per cent) and 47 per cent found it exciting.
“I probably agree with them,” Southgate told The Times.
“The coverage needs to be better. Running is first to the line – that’s pretty self-explanatory – but in golf there’s a lot of time when no one is hitting a shot. Unless you know the rules and the players, it can be difficult to watch.”
However, golf officials hit back at the survey.
“Golf is unique in that any golfer can play against the best players in the world thanks to the handicap system,” Martin Slumbers, chief executive of the R&A, told The Times.
“I would encourage anyone to take up golf and enjoy a true sport for life.”
The survey, though, represents quite a shot in the arm for athletics, with the thrills and spills at the hugely successful World Championships in London last year showing despite scepticism over doping it is a crowd-pleasing show.
“Look at 2012 and last year´s World Championships and you could not help but get caught up in the drama,” Darren Campbell, Britain´s 2000 Olympic silver medalist in the 200 metres, told The Times.
“Athletics still creates those exciting moments and is the foundation for all sports.”