Outside of the obvious, what Tiger did for the PGA was to showcase a handsome, athletically fit young guy who won right out of the blocks. He had no beer belly, he was likable, and spoke with confidence. He was also heavily marketed and "managed", and quite professionally I might add.
While nobody's ever made a huge deal
out of it, except maybe Gary Player, the PGA was filled with great golfers, about 2/3rds of which looked like they had several refrigerators in their homes and frequent eater miles at fast food franchises. But they were still great golfers. To be fair, golf was in the stages of being overbuilt as he entered the Tour.
Nobody writes much about it, but even as Tiger was making the PGA ratings jump higher, golf in general was in decline. Tiger didn't bring back the sport of golf, he brought ratings success and $$$ to the PGA and the networks. Working people had long become tired of long tee time waits, rising prices, and lengthy games. Tiger did contribute to the Youth goals of the PGA, things like First Tee and so on.
Getting back to bowling. There were organizational failures, declining numbers of bowling centers, and a complete failure (IMO), of bowling proprietors that recognized the socio-demographic and cultural changes going on. Far more competition for people's money, very little marketing of the sport, and rustic old bowling centers where the only thing missing from the "Old Days" was the smoke. I'm extremely new to this sport, but I can recognize some of the old scoring equipment from the '70's and 80's, the carpet that looked like it was borrowed from the set of "The Hustler", and the steady and quite noticeable deterioration of the buildings themselves.
Up until circa 2008, I had probably bowled perhaps 1-2 games of Ten Pin in my entire life. For over 8 years, I actually drove by a bowling center (now closed) every weekday. Not sure why, but never once did the thought of entering ever cross my mind. I knew nothing of the PBA, Cosmic Bowling, nor did I know anyone that bowled. I knew absolutely Zero about bowling, and never heard anything about it either. But years ago, I do remember watching the likes of [censored] Weber
and Earl Anthony on TV
Hey, this has gotten far longer than anyone cares to read, which is typical of me and a keyboard on a boring day
Suffice it to say that more publicity and more exciting people like a Sean Rash, Pete Weber
, Jason Belmonte will work wonders for the sport. People that look like they could do other sports. They speak well, articulate their thoughts well, and they're exciting to watch when they play. I disagree with aspects of the WWF analogies, bowling doesn't need to become a circus, unless that's the only way. If it does, you probably would lose the likes of the newer guys coming into bowling.
The Leagues are entertaining, and far easier to promote. They do need tweaks here and there, but they have team owners, pay salaries, and could well be the future model if successful.