Here is something that grinds my gears, people who say that golf is a sport. It is not just golf either; snooker, darts, bowls. These are not sports. The online definition of ‘sport’ is an activity involving serious physical exertion and skill. Now I will start by stating that I am not claiming that these are not technically demanding activities but that alone is not enough to qualify them as sports.
I am tired of stories of these non-sports taking up space on the back pages or on the BBC sport website. Phil Taylor can compare himself to the likes of Roger Federer because he dominates his chosen field but the two are incomparable. The difference is that Roger Federer has not become the all-time greatest Tennis player by sitting down, downing pints while hitting a tennis ball against the pub wall. As far as I am concerned to claim that darts, golf, snooker and the likes are sports would be to discredit actual sports.
You can call them what you like; hobbies, past-times, leisure activities, just not sports. I would give the following criteria for why these things should not be constituted as sports:
1. If you can remain at the top of the respective field over the age of 40.
2. If you can play it in a pub.
3. If you do not need to change your shoes or trousers to play it.
If a hobby meets all of these criteria then I don’t believe that it should be classified as a sport.
Sports-stars are at the pinnacle of their profession. They are the technical and physical elite who can make who are highly trained athletes. To group Lionel Messi, Brian Habana, Usain Bolt or Floyd Mayweather Jr with someone like Raymond van Barneveld or John Daly, who probably have a BMI that would see them considered medically obese, is disrespectful to the former.
I am aware that this view may well be controversial and I, as ever, welcome any opinions or thoughts that people have on the issue. But do not expect me to talk about any of these past-times as part of my blog. They may be difficult to play and I do enjoy watching these games but they are not sports.