Golf, unlike every other sport, does not rely on referees or officials on a play-by-play basis. Golfers govern themselves and follow the Rules of Golf. While there is a “rules official” on property at PGA Tour events, they rarely have any impact on the tournament. It’s entirely possible for PGA Tour pros to play an entire weekend without even interacting with a rules official.
How many times can you recall a ref completely ruin the outcome of a game with a bad call?
When you watch an NFL game, and there’s an incomplete pass, us viewers are already bracing for a yellow flag to be thrown, whether it’s the right call or not (How about that non-PI call in the Rams-Saints 2019 NFC Championship? Did Dez Bryant catch that ball against Green Bay)? Refs can and will impact games, one way or the other, for the good for the bad, mainly bad, in all major sports, in the biggest of games.
Heck, the NBA has created a last 2 minute report where they report key officiating errors in the final 2 minutes of every game. Sometimes, there’s 10 errors in these reports, in just 2 minutes of game-play! (and these are the most important 2 minutes of the game).
This is what separates the great game of golf. There are no outside variables like refs to mar the outcome of a golf tournament. The integrity of the outcome is fully intact. The only outside variable is the outside itself, the weather/course conditions. It’s the golfer versus the golf course, no third parties to make decisions. Your playing partner is the closest thing you’ll find to a ref on a golf course, as he/she is responsible for protecting the field.
For us viewers and bettors, ensuring the integrity of the final result is really all we can ask for. While the result may not be our favorite golfer slipping on the green jacket or hoisting the trophy on Sunday, there’s always closure knowing that whoever won, deserved to win, fair and square.